Probate can be a very lengthy and expensive process. Even if the deceased person has a will in place, it can still get pretty expensive with all the fees it is subjected to. Probate costs can vary depending on the state you are in, but generally you can expect to pay between 3% to 7% of the value of the estate. These costs can include, attorney fees, appraisal fees, court costs, and even tax preparation fees. Fortunately, some fees are negotiable allowing you to save the estate some money. To reduce the amount of the estate is forced to pay, here are some tips for handling the probate fees.
When you go through the probate process, you need a lawyer. Having a lawyer can reduce the amount of time you spend in court and ultimately could save you some money. The attorney fees can often be the largest expense of the estate. While many states set a certain amount for probate cases, this amount is often the maximum you are expected to pay. To help reduce your attorney costs for handling the state, you want to negotiate with the attorney. You may also choose to switch to an hourly rate instead of a flat fee to help you save on costs.
Another area where you can save on fees is the executor position. Instead of hiring an executor, you may want to speak to family or close friends to see if there are any volunteers. Many people who were close to the deceased person will have a vested interest in seeing that the estate is divided up properly. Unfortunately, the job of an executor is a big one. They may have to sell belongings, pay off debts, open a bank account, and probate a will. Having someone you know handle it for you can help reduce the amount of executor fees you end up paying and could negate the fees totally.
Many estates have a bond attached to them as an insurance policy. This is to ensure that the estate remains in value even if it goes down due to misconduct by the executor of the estate. It is possible to do away with the bond by writing a special clause in your will. This will save you a small amount of money through the probate process.
Tax Preparation Fees
Another area that can charge a lot of fees for the estate is the tax preparation. If the estate is large enough, it will require that tax forms be done on the estate. If the deceased person already had an accountant they were working with, then you could possibly save money by continuing to use them. This is because they are familiar with the estate and should have much of the information already available to them. You can also shop around for tax accountants to help you find the lowest rate available. Click here for more information about probate.