Myth: Probate Costs Will Consume All Your Assets

Myth: Probate Costs Will Consume All Your Assets

One of the most common myths regarding probate is that the associate costs will take up most of the assets you own. Although it is true that probate can be a costly process and that you should attempt to avoid it as much as possible through sound estate planning, you do not need to fear that probate costs will consume all or most of your estate’s total value.

Many estates do not require probate proceedings at all, especially if the deceased has been on top of using probate avoidance tactics in his or her estate planning efforts. But even if the estate does require probate, it is likely the costs will be less than 5 percent the estate’s value.

The typical costs include a few hundred dollars to file the probate case, plus a few hundred more to publish all legally required notices. Attorney’s fees will add some additional costs.

There are some circumstances in which the cost of probate could significantly increase, including:

  • Litigation: Any time someone files a contest to a will or attempts to take the estate to court, the potential cost of the probate process will rise significantly. The estate will need to retain an attorney to defend it in litigation, and if the case does go to trial, it could cost tens of thousands of dollars.
  • High attorney fees: There are some states in which attorneys charge a percentage of the value of the estate rather than flat fees.

For more information and guidance on estate planning and avoiding the costs of probate, speak with a dedicated Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.