What are some fees I may be expected to pay during the probate process?

Probate Lawyer Phoenix, AZ

If your loved one only had a will when they died, or did not have a will at all, some or all of their assets may need to be probated. These could include property, vehicles, jewelry, art, personal belongings, bank accounts, and so forth. Probate is not a free process; however, the cost of probate largely depends on the total value of the estate and assets that are being probated. In general, the greater the value of the estate, the more probate will cost.

Fees You Might Expect in the Probate Process

The following are a general outline of some of the fees that you may encounter in the probate process. Whether they will be applicable to your situation depends on many factors. If you are looking for answers individualized to your legal matter, please consult a probate lawyer.

Court Fees – All states have their own probate fee schedule. In general, the fees can cost between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars or more. Typically, the court fees are 3% – 10% of the total value of the estate. For an accurate estimate, please call a probate lawyer or your local county clerk.

Personal Representative Fees – A personal representative, also known as the executor, is the person who will be in charge of administering the probate process. State laws explain how this person should be reimbursed for their time. Some laws ask that a reasonable fee is paid; others ask for a specific percentage of the estate – usually between 3%-10%. In certain cases, the executor will ask the drafter of the will (prior to their death) for a certain amount to be paid to them.

Legal Fees – A probate lawyer can be invaluable; however, there will be fees to pay for their guidance. Legal fees of a probate lawyer can greatly vary, but may be similar to the fees of a personal representative. You can call a probate lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on at Kamper Estrada, LLP to find out what their fees are.

Accounting Fees – Whether or not the estate will have accounting fees will be dependent upon the type of assets involved. For example, if there are stocks, bonds, CDs, and bank accounts, it is almost certain that you will need to hire an accountant. In general, large estates with multiple forms of financial wealth require accountants. These professionals may also handle any taxes owed or other bills. You can ask a lawyer to help you with this for a nominal fee.

Valuation Fees – Any high value asset of an estate should be valued. Examples include property, real estate, businesses, antiques, art, vehicles, and more. A valuation may cost a few hundred dollars or more, depending on how many assets there are to be valued, and what.

Bond Fee – If the probate court requires the executor to post a bond, you will need to take this fee into consideration. In general, a bond will cost .5% per thousand dollars.

Miscellaneous Fees – Additional fees to consider include transportation fees, moving fees, storage fees, postage fees, seller fees (if you’re selling assets i.e. a house), and more.

The above does not include any debts or taxes to be paid. Overall, the probate process can be costly. On average, beneficiaries can lose up to 10% of their assets because of the cost of probate. When you compare this with a living trust, which takes about 1 – 5% of the total assets, probate may not be favorable.