If you find yourself having to Probate the estate or Will of a loved one, among the chief-est of concerns is the Cost? Let alone all of the other unknowns involved with Probate, the cost is often the one question most people in my office want to know.
While I can’t guarantee you a cost, I can provide general guidelines. If everything went well, with no surprises, you can expect to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $2K - $5K throughout the entire Probate process on Attorney’s fees. Again, only if everything goes off without a hitch.
Jeppesen Law charges a flat rate of $2,000 to proceed with an informal probate. Often, this is the only charge for Attorney’s Fees that the clients incur. However, my Representation Agreement has built in per hour price contingencies if an unexpected Creditor Claim or Will Contest arises, but that seldom occurs.
What does that $2,000 include? An informal probate proceeding (no court, yay!), Office Consultation regarding probate of decedent’s estate, Prepare of Application for Informal Probate and Informal Appointment, Preparation of Statement of Informal Probate and Appointment, Preparation of Letters Testamentary, Prepare of letters to the Probate Magistrate Judge in the Venue county, Preparation of the Notice to Creditors to be Published with the local Newspaper, Filing the Application and other pleadings with the County Probate Court, Real Estate Transfer Documents, Publication Fees, and County Probate Court Filing Fees. Whew, that was a mouth full.
As a reminder, it is always a good idea to ask your attorney early on in the process of estimated costs. After ask a number of specific questions that can lead to pitfalls, the attorney should be able to provide an estimated cost. Better yet, hopefully he/she can offer you a fixed fee plan. This approach encourages efficiency and economy that ultimately works to the benefit of the clients.
However, to avoid both the cost and the time delay of probate, a Living Trust or Family Trust is often the best option available.