The cost of probate can vary widely, and really depends on how large the estate is and how smoothly the probate process goes. While there’s no real way to quote an exact cost, there are some standard fees you can expect to encounter during probate process:
1) Court costs: These are charged for every probate filing.
2) Attorney’s Fees: Attorney’s fees can vary depending on the complexity of administering the estate or completing the probate process. If a will contest is filed or if the need arises to defend against an improper claim against the estate by a creditor, then, of course, attorney’s fees will be even higher.
3) Personal Representative Fees: The Personal Representative, or Executor, is entitled to a fee for performing his or her duties. This fee also often depends on the value of the property in the estate.
4) Surety Bond: Unless your Last Will and Testament specifically states that your Personal Representative will not have to post a bond, then a bond will need to be posted before your Personal Representative will be able to start carrying out his or her duties. The amount of the bond will be determined by the probate judge.
5) Appraisal and Business Valuation Fees: Depending on what property is in your estate, appraisals may need to be done, or professional valuations may need to be performed to determine the value of certain assets. If this is the case, the fees for these services will be paid from the assets of your estate.
Altogether, the costs of probate may take a chunk out of your estate, and this is before factoring in estate taxes. However, if you have a solid estate plan, its possible to avoid probate altogether. Talk to an estate planning attorney to decide what estate plan is right for you.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.