Many people dread the probate process because of the costs involved. There are many different actions associated with probate, and a lot of these actions involve paying a fee or a bill. Depending on the assets you own, your estate may incur costs that could minimize how much of your estate your heirs will receive.
Even if you plan ahead to diminish your probate costs, sometimes unexpected events occur that add up more probate spending. Policy Genius explains what might happen to drive up probate costs.
You can expect your executor and heirs to file different motions in court to process your estate. This includes the initial opening of probate after your death. Following that, there could be many different actions filed by your executor or your heirs, all of which may involve some kind of court cost.
For instance, your executor may file a motion to acquire multiple copies of letters testamentary or to open a safe deposit box that you own. If you fail to write a will, a probate court may have to determine who your heirs are. If your heirs have problems with your will, they may file a motion to object to it or contest the nomination of your executor. It is also possible your heirs might file to reopen your probate case down the road.
When you create a will, part of your responsibility is to name an executor who will administer your estate. Since your executor will have to carry out various responsibilities, your executor will need compensation. Some executors receive a percentage of the estate or they take a flat fee. If you do not establish a payment plan, the state’s probate law will determine how to pay your executor.
An executor also has to pay money to conduct various actions on behalf of the estate. This money comes out of the estate assets. Common estate actions including posting public notices about the estate in the newspaper, storing or maintaining estate property, appraising the value of real estate and high value property, and paying fees to close or transfer financial accounts.
The size of your estate
In general, having a larger estate can add probate costs. With many and/or expensive assets, your estate will have a larger value and could become the subject of a will contest or a claim from an heir. If you convert your assets to forms that will not go through probate, like trust property, payable on death accounts and jointly owned property, you will reduce what goes through probate and minimize probate expenses.