One of the most common questions we receive from clients going through the probate process is how much they can expect probate to cost. There is not one easy answer as every case is different. You can estimate the estate to pay out anywhere from four to seven percent of its value for probate. The exact cost to probate will hinge on a variety of factors.
Following is a list of the common fees included in the cost to probate.
1. Court fees
In most cases it will cost several hundred dollars in court filing fees to open a probate case. Additional fees depend on the complexity of the estate. Complex estates may require more forms, which means more filing fees.
2. Attorney’s fees
Attorneys will charge for their services in assisting with the probate process, and the manner in which they charge can vary from firm to firm. Some will set fees that are equal to a certain percentage of the estate value, others have a sliding scale based on value and complexity. Attorneys can add on “extraordinary fees” for any services that go above and beyond what would typically be expected in a probate case.
3. Personal Representative fees
Personal representative fees are typically calculated in the same way as attorney fees, and ensure the personal representative is compensated for the large amount of work they will have to do to administer the estate.
4. Appraisal and valuation fees
The probate process involves appraisal and valuation of real estate, business interests, and certain types of valuable personal property. These fees can be small or significant, depending on the kind of asset being appraised.
5. Accounting fees
You might work with an accountant while probating an estate, and thus will need to pay the accountant for their work. The fees will go toward preparation and filing of tax returns for the estate, or assistance in untangling and managing stocks, bonds, and various accounts.
6. Bond fees
The personal representative will need to pay for and post a bond before they are allowed to proceed with the case. This money will usually come out of the estate.
7. Other fees
There are other miscellaneous fees that could come out of the estate’s money during the probate process. These include costs of storing personal property, shipping property to heirs, fees for publication of death notices, and estate or income taxes that might apply to the property.
Avoiding the Cost to Probate
You can save a significant amount of money by avoiding probate with your estate planning. The use of trusts and other types of estate planning tools allows much or all of your property to bypass probate.
For more information about the costs associated with probate and how you can avoid or minimize them, contact an experienced estate planning attorney at Baker Law Group, P.C.
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