Who Pays Probate Attorney Fees?

The fee structure for a probate attorney can vary, but whether it's an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a percentage of the estate's value, these costs are typically paid from the assets of the decedent's estate. The decedent's remaining funds, property, and other holdings are used to cover these legal expenses.

An hourly rate can be more economical, especially for larger or more valuable estates. If an attorney charges a percentage of the estate's value, the cost can become large, even if the required work isn't proportional. However, a flat fee or a percentage of the estate could be more predictable or cheaper for smaller or simpler estates.

Discussing these fees and payment structure upfront with the attorney to avoid unexpected expenses and ensure the estate can cover the costs is crucial.

There are instances where the beneficiaries may need to cover these costs upfront, such as when the estate lacks sufficient liquid assets. However, those individuals can typically seek reimbursement from the estate once there are enough available funds.

The specifics of these arrangements can depend on various factors, including the terms of the will, the size and complexity of the estate, the attorney's level of experience, the local market, and local laws.

While the estate typically pays for the probate attorney's fees, there are circumstances where the beneficiaries might initially have to cover these costs but can later seek reimbursement.

It's important to have these discussions early on, possibly with multiple attorneys, to ensure a clear understanding of the financial obligations associated with the probate process.

  • Published: Jun 20, 2023
  • Updated: Dec 8, 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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