12 Aug Part 2: DELAYS AND COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH PROBATE: Justin Crain, Partner
What Can Delay Probate?
Many things can cause a delay in the probate process, including:
· The family or the attorney have difficulties in determining all of the assets and liabilities of the estate;
· A personal representative (executor or administrator) needs to be confirmed or appointed to handle matters during probate;
· Someone may contest the probate or disagree with how it is being handled (this could cause completion of the probate to be delayed for years);
· Either the attorney, an heir, or family members who are in charge procrastinate;
· A federal estate tax return must be filed. This requires that certain probate assets be appraised and often requires that assets be sold to pay the tax bill. The federal estate tax return is due nine months after the death of the decedent and often the probate is not complete until federal estate tax matters are concluded.
What Costs Are Associated with Probate?
The overall cost of probate will vary depending on the type and value of the assets that are being probated. In general, the greater the value of the estate and probate property, the more it will cost. The various fees and costs associated with probate typically include:
· Court Fees – Court fees in Texas range from a few hundred dollars to over $1000, depending on your county of residence.
· Attorney Fees – In Texas, attorneys can charge any fee they believe to be “reasonable” to probate an estate. As of 2016, the average hourly rate for a Texas attorney is $288 an hour. In contrast, attorney fees in other states may be based on a percentage of the estate that is subject to probate.
· Accounting Fees – These fees will vary depending on the value of the estate and the types of assets included. If the estate is taxable, then the accounting fees may include the preparation and filing of the tax returns.
· Appraisal Fees – These fees are imperative to determine the date of death values of real estate, personal property, and business interests. Personal property appraisals can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Business valuation fees will typically cost several thousand dollars.
· Miscellaneous Fees – Other fees may include bond fees, postage, insurance, storage, shipping and/or moving personal property.
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