Is "Do-It-Yourself" Probate Possible?

When a loved one dies, many families are intimidated by the probate process. As a result, they end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to have tasks done that they could have done themselves with proper guidance and coaching.

We help families probate wills and administer the estate themselves, saving those fees. McHugh & Macri innovated the "do-it-yourself" probate process to help.

What Is Involved In Administering An Estate?

Whether the estate is $10,000 or $10 million, certain estate administration steps must be taken when a person dies. During your scheduled estate conference with our certified elder law attorneys (CELA), we will review an estate checklist of what needs to be done. As we go through this checklist, you decide whether you can do certain tasks or whether you need attorney services. For most of the steps, you don't need an attorney.

Probate/Administer It Yourself

The general overview of tasks is:

  • Locating and liquidating the resources

  • Paying all just debts of the decedent, including taxes if applicable

  • Distributing the residuary to the beneficiaries of the will or intestate estate

McHugh and Macri has developed this technique to significantly reduce the cost of administering the estate, including legal fees. Since many of the estate steps don't require the specialized knowledge of an attorney, you can "do it yourself", with our coaching and guidance, without paying a percentage of the estate value. If the estate needs tax returns or has legal complexities, you engage the attorney only to handle those steps and it's billed at an hourly rate, not a percentage of the estate.

Here's how it works

  1. Contact McHugh and Macri before seeking probate. Why? Many times, you can avoid the time and expense of probate since it may not be legally required.
  2. McHugh and Macri will establish an in-office or telephone estate conference with our estate attorney (not a paralegal) and will send you an estate administration checklist to be completed for that conference.
  3. At the estate conference, our attorney will present and review with you a checklist of the issues that must be addressed to properly administer the estate. You decide which steps you will complete and which steps an attorney must complete.
  4. If probate is needed, McHugh and Macri then establishes a meeting with the county surrogate office for you and advises what papers are required for you to do it yourself.

That's it! Simple, direct and cost-efficient. For a modest one-time fixed fee, the client can administer the estate based on the expert advice provided by our estate lawyers.

Contact our office at 973-577-6010 and let us know that you are interested in a "probate/administer it yourself" conference.