To get an idea how the costs incurred in the probate process would affect your estate
and your heirs, we have set up a mechanism to calculate the estimated statutory attorney's
fee in probate. This fee is calculated by percentages of the gross estate. Please enter
an estimate of the value of your gross estate (all of your property of whatever kind, not
including insurance or retirement account assets), then click on Calculate.
This is the base amount of attorney's fees set by statute if you probate an estate of the indicated size. In addition, there will be an Executor's fee awarded by the Court (unless waived by your Executor) in the same amount, thus doubling the expense.
These are the normal fees. Many common services such as sale of real property or a business create what the law calls "extraodinary fees," which can increase these amounts significantly.
These fees are not unfair in the context of probate -- a great deal of work is required to administer an estate through the unnecessarily complicated and detailed probate court process -- but the need for many of these services to be performed can be avoided by using a living trust. While there are still legal services needed under a trust to close the estate, pay all debts and taxes, and transfer property to the heirs, much of the work in administering a probate is simply made unnecessary by the use of a living trust. Accordingly, a trust can save the estate a considerable sum of money.
Click here to read more on Estate Planning and the use of trusts