When a person is dealing with the probate process, they may have to incur some expenses. Now, probate is a legal process and thus cost may vary for different types of cases. It also depends upon the estate property’s value. In fact, as per experts, greater the estate value, higher is the probate cost. Also, in some cases, it may be possible for a person to claim these said expenses back from the estate only. However, this does not imply that they can get money for their time spent.
Now, the question is what are reasonable expenses during probate? Though there is no official definition for these expenses, there are some guidelines for the same. As per the definition, any expenses which are incurred by the executor come under this bracket. Let us read about these reasonable expenses in detail.
Probate Court Fees
The state laws dictate the court fees. Thus, it can range between a few hundreds to thousand dollars. Also, the cost depends upon the complexity of the case. The various forms included in the process also contribute to the cost. More complex estate cases need more forms to be filled. The filing fee for a probate is usually a few hundred dollars. Almost, every estate needs to go for the probate court fee. Thus, it is advisable to sit down with your attorney and get a clear picture about these expenses in detail.
The executor fee also comes under the state laws. Sometimes, the decedent may state in his or her will the fees that an executor should get. When a will does not contain this information, the state law will come into force. They will decide the executor fee in such situations. There may be some states that may announce a reasonable fee without giving a particular reason. A personal representative may also ask for some ‘extraordinary fee” for duties above than the probate ones.
Probate Attorney’s Fee
The state laws again come into the scene in these cases. The said fee is calculated in the same way that an executor fee gets calculated. An attorney can also ask for ‘extraordinary fee’ for the services he gives beyond the expected ones. However, not all estates may require an attorney. The small estates or less complicated ones may not require this expense at all.
The executor may have to pay for a bond. He or she has to post a bond in the amount which is determined by the probate court. Usually, the state pays this expense. Some probate judges ask for this bond even when the executor is a minor. The owner may waive the need for a bond in his or her will. However, the probate court may waive this wish when kids are involved.
The accounting fee may differ as per different factors. These include the value of the estate or the different types of assets that are owned. For example, a small estate that owns 25 diverse stocks as well as bonds will have more accounting fee. However, this may not be the case with a larger estate. The accounting fee may also include filing of taxes if applicable.
Business Valuation Fee
The business valuation fee is necessary to determine different aspects of an estate. These include values of personal property, real estate, and the business interests. The goal of this valuation is to set the low value of the assets. This helps in saving the taxes for the beneficiaries.
The miscellaneous fee may include the cost of a postage as well as a notary. Also, it may include costs such as house clearance cost, gardening, house maintenance, etc. Since these costs cannot be given a particular name, it comes under miscellaneous probate fees.
Since everyone understands that a probate process may get costly, it is advisable to look for measures that can help avoid the process. One such method can be to create a living trust when the owner is still alive. The living trust works as a will and names the beneficiaires. A revocable living trust can be private. It also makes clear how the assets can be distributed when the owner dies. This will reduce the stress quotient for the executors as well. Also, it is advisable to keep a proper record of your financial assets. There are many tools that can assist in maintaining these assets in an effective way. Also, an attorney can assist you in determining the real expenses of the probate process.