Probate can be costly, depending on the size of the estate. Estimates range between 2-7% of the gross estate. Each state has legislation governing how much executors can charge and how much attorneys can charge.

The biggest cost issue is that you must go to court, and you need an attorney to do that.

Larger estates, which typically have more complex and harder-to-value assets, require appraisals for business interests, real estate, and artwork. Appraisals are required by the IRS at the time of the estate tax return.

Once the estate tax return is filed, you then have a long waiting period to discharge the assets and transfer them to a trust or the beneficiaries. This can take up to two years.

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