How Long Does It Take?
Probate can range from a few weeks or months to several years. The length of time depends on several factors including state laws and the estate’s complexity. Other factors can include the existence of a properly executed will, debts to be paid, estate taxes owed and whether or not heirs get along.
Often, state tax laws and various filing requirements cause the biggest delays. For simple estates, many states offer expedited processes that last just a few months.
What Does It Cost?
Costs vary depending on the complexity and value of the estate as well as standard fees set by state law. Fees may include appraisal costs, court filing fees, accounting fees and executor fees.
There are also fees if you use an attorney. These are usually categorized into three categories: hourly fees, flat fees or fees based on a percentage of the estate’s value.3 That doesn’t account for litigation if someone contests the will. The hassle-factor and cost of a complicated process are the primary reasons probate gets a bad name. But many estates are settled with minimal fuss.
To learn more about probate or draw up your own estate plans, an estate planning attorney can discuss your specific situation and potential needs.