Legal work is expensive - there's no way around it, unfortunately. But when you're settling an estate, there are a few bits of good news:
- Reimbursement for Personal Expenditures. Any expenditures you make for legitimate estate administration expenses can be reimbursed right away from the estate assets once they become available.
It's important to note that not every expenditure is a legitimate estate administration expense, and that family members should not be encouraged to make expenditures in anticipation of reimbursement.
But legitimate expenditures include: costs of the funeral or memorial ceremony, costs of burial or cremation, legal fees, and payment of the decedent's own legal obligations, such as rent, mortgage or utility bills, if necessary.
- Financing for Legal Fees. Many people cannot afford to pay for ongoing legal work out of pocket. We accept credit cards, which can be a good way to keep up with the legal bills while spreading your payments over time. If you don't have cash or a card to use for this purpose, we can recommend the following approaches, in order of preference:
- Talk to your bank. If you go to the bank where you have your personal accounts, they may be able to set up a personal loan or a credit card for you. We suggest that you get a credit line of $20,000 if possible.
- Personal Loans. Various banks provide personal loans for significant life events and projects - the legal fees for obtaining your inheritance is often a qualifying project. If you search for "personal loans", you will find an array of lenders. We have confirmed that the following lenders offer loans for this purpose:
- Inheritance Loans / Advances. You may have heard of companies that will pay you an advance on the inheritance that you anticipate from the estate. We strongly discourage our clients from using this type of financing. It is extremely expensive and, in our view, predatory, in a manner similar to payday loans. It can also significantly complicate the distribution of the estate, increase the liability of the executor / administrator, and disturb the distribution of estate assets. It also adds an additional, potentially contentious, party to the proceedings, since the provider becomes a creditor of the estate. It is this firm's policy not to deal with providers of inheritance advances and not to assist clients in arranging such advances.