Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo  Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo
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Just how much does it cost to probate an estate?

You have likely heard several estate planning experts throughout the San Fernando Valley talk about planning ahead so that your estate avoids probate. The reasons to avoid probate proceedings are many, with the time required to complete the process and the potential to have your personal information becoming public record ranking highest among them. Yet the primary reason that most give as to the reason to avoid probate are the costs. Just how much does it cost to probate an estate? That answer may vary from estate to estate, but a general overview of the expenses involved might give you a better idea.

Even though the probate process is a public one, the expense is still taken from your estate. The individual expenses involved include:

  •          Probate court filing fees
  •          Legal notices
  •          Appraisal costs
  •          Attorney’s fees

On average, these expenses tend to cost about 5 percent of the value of the estate. A 2013 report by CNN Money estimated that average value of an American estate was $177,000. Taking that 5 percent into account, that means that probate costs could come out to around $8,850.

While that may not seem like much, keep in mind that is only a best-case scenario. If the assets of your estate are tied up in litigation, or there is any other activity that could slow the probate process down, you could potentially be looking at much higher attorney fees as your case drags on. Plus, you should also remember that probate costs are among the first expenses taken from an estate. They must be paid prior to asset disbursements, meaning they could limit the amount your heirs receive.  

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