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At Disability: Your spouse or a third party must petition the court to be appointed as your conservator or guardian. Your
conservator must obtain a bond, in most cases, and must keep detailed records and reports for the court. The court
controls all of your finances and assets and must be petitioned for approval of all expenses.
Fees: Your estate will pay all court costs and legal fees.
Privacy: None. Your cause becomes a public record.
At Death: The court orders your assets marshaled, debts paid, and possessions distributed according to the laws of
intestacy, which may not provide the distribution you wanted.
Fees: Your estate will pay all costs. Probate fees are often estimated at 5%-10% of the gross value of your estate. If you
own a modest home, expect these costs to exceed $10,000.
Time: Usually one to two years or more before heirs can inherit. Your family will have no control over costs or delays.
Privacy: None. Intestacy proceedings are public and estate records are made available to anyone for examination at the
probate court. Your family becomes exposed to unscrupulous solicitors and greedy heirs. Your family may also be
exposed to claims by persons who have no right to your estate, but who will file a claim hoping for a quick settlement.
Flexibility: None. Your property is controlled and distributed by the probate court. All decisions and financial transactions
must be approved by the court. Children will not receive their inheritance until they reach the age of majority.