The fees associated with probate can end up costing a great deal of money, and the more assets in the estate, the more money probate will cost. And while there is no set amount, there are some fees that are common to the process:
Fees to an Attorney – This amount will depend upon the extent of your estate. Some attorneys charge a flat rate for basic services and an additional amount for advanced planning needs while other attorneys prefer to bill on an hourly basis. You’ll have to talk to your attorney to find out how you’ll be billed and what the expected cost might be.
Fees to the Personal Representative – Like the attorney fees, law dictates the personal representative’s fees; this may be a set amount or a percentage of what the estate is worth. Along with the basic fees, the personal representative can also ask for extraordinary fees.
Accounting Fees – These fees will be determined by the value of the estate and not necessarily the size of the estate. The more the estate is worth, the more the accounting services are going to cost. Another factor that determines how much the accounting fees will be is if the estate is taxable, and if tax preparation is necessary.
Fees for Appraisal – Someone will have to provide an appraisal to determine how much the estate is worth, including any real estate, vehicles, or any other personal property that is of any value. These services cost money, and can sometimes be very expensive.
Fees for Personal Representative Bond – Even if the will waives the necessity for the personal representative to post a bond, there is a chance that the judge will order a bond anyway. A bond will be necessary if the will does not waive the bond, and a bond can be very expensive, especially if the assets of the estate are worth a lot of money.
Of course there are also going to be a lot of different fees that are not placed within a specific category, such as postage fees; shipping property; perhaps fees for things such as storing your property; or insurance.
When you consider all of these different fees it is easy to see how a large chunk of your estate can disappear. One way to avoid this is with a Revocable Living Trust, which has fewer fees associated with settlement so your loved ones will come out with more of your estate after all is settled and done. If you want to ensure that the people you love get as much as possible out of what you leave them, an estate plan that includes a Revocable Living Trust could be your best choice.