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Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer Blog

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Expenses of Probate, Part II: What Are The Fees for Handling an Estate (Probate)?

A Minneapolis Probate Attorney Explains the Fees Associated with Handling a Probate

In Part I of this series, I explained who is responsible for paying the fees to start a probate. This post discusses the different types of fees involved.

• Court Fees

These fees are dictated by Minnesota probate law and cover the court filing fee, publishing and copy fees. In Minnesota, this generally amounts to about $500-$1000.

 Attorney's Fees

Naturally, these fees vary by attorney. Be sure to ask the Minnesota probate lawyer about these fees before signing anything. At Unique Estate Law, we list our fees up front AND provide our probate clients with a knowledgeable quote based on what we think will be involved in handling the estate.

• Accounting Fees

These fees will vary depending upon the overall value of the estate and the type of assets owned. For instance, a small estate that nonetheless owns 25 different stocks and bonds may generate more accounting fees than a larger estate that owns a primary residence, a bank account and a CD. Of course, if the estate is taxable at the state and/or federal level, then the accounting fees may include the preparation and filing of the state and/or federal estate tax returns if the attorney for the estate doesn't prepare and file the returns.

• Appraisal and Business Valuation Fees

These fees will be necessary to determine the date of death values of real estate, personal property (including jewelry, antiques, art work, boats, cars and the like), and business interests. Appraisal fees for personal property can range anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, while business valuation fees will run several thousand dollars.

I had a probate client who owned several racehorses. We had to hire someone to conduct an appraisal done of the horses so we could value them for the probate. The Personal Representative was lucky in that case as his father had opened a joint bank account and deposited funds for the sole purpose of funding probate fees. So, he did not need to pay for these things out of his own pocket and then wait to get reimbursed later.

• Bond Fees

If you don't have a Last Will and Testament that waives the posting of a bond by your Personal Representative, then before your Personal Representative can be appointed he or she may need to pay for and post a bond in an amount determined by the probate judge. I've also run into situations where the probate judge has required a bond to be posted even though the Last Will and Testament waived the posting of a bond simply because minor children - or charitable - beneficiaries were involved.

 Miscellaneous Fees

There are almost always other fees involved in a probate.  The following are a few examples of such fees:

  1. Postage to mail notices and documents to interested persons or governmental authorities
  2. Insuring and storing personal property;
  3. Shipping personal property;
  4. Moving personal property
  5. Paying the decedent’s mortgage
  6. Paying for property/casualty insurance on a residence
  7. Lawn care services
  8. House repairs (I had a client who had to pay to fix an ice dam on his father’s home during probate)
  9. Car insurance
  10. Utilities

As you can see, there are many fees involved in handling a probate. These fees can amount to several thousand dollars just to get assets/items to the beneficiaries. There are ways around paying the fees for probate. While that discussion is beyond the scope of this post, I do discuss it in other posts.

Contact a Minneapolis probate lawyer now to ask about the fees involved in probate.

I’m the personal representative? Do I get paid for that? See Part III for the answer to this question.


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From within Hennepin County Unique Estate Law represents clients throughout Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park.



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