What Is the Expense of Ancillary Probate?

The cost of ancillary probate can be impacted by various factors, including the complexity of out-of-state assets, particular state laws, and the attorney's fee structure. For instance, many attorneys, our firm's probate attorneys included, typically charge either an hourly fee or a percentage of a qualifying estate, and depending on the circumstances, this choice could considerably influence the overall cost for a summary, formal, or international ancillary probate administration.

If the estate has ample funds, paying the attorney hourly might be more cost-efficient and could lower costs if the probate process is relatively straightforward and reasonably executed, and when funds are scarce, and an hourly rate isn't a viable option, a probate attorney may agree to a percentage-based fee. This fee would then be settled during the estate settlement process.

Take this example: An estate valued at $500,000 with an attorney charging a 3% probate fee would cost $15,000, and if the attorney's hourly rate was $350 and the process took 50 hours, the total cost would be $17,500. The 3% fee would save the estate $5,000 in this scenario.

While these cost considerations are important, it's crucial to remember that a personal representative might contemplate handling the probate process themselves, foregoing the assistance of a lawyer, which is not a good idea due to the potential pitfalls and the significant fiduciary responsibility a personal representative bears.

Personal representatives have crucial duties, including settling debts, distributing assets, and properly conducting the probate process, and any oversights or errors could lead to personal liability and potential financial loss far exceeding the cost of a lawyer.

Every probate situation is unique, wheater it is ancillary probate or regular probate. A probate attorney is vital to determine the most beneficial approach and can provide invaluable guidance tailored to the specifics of the estate, helping to navigate the process and avoid pitfalls. Their expertise ensures that a personal representative can fulfill their duties responsibly and by the law.

  • Published: Jul 12, 2023
  • Updated: Dec 26, 2023

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This FAQ is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We make no representations or warranties about this FAQ's completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability. Each legal situation is unique. Always consult an attorney for personalized guidance.

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