Probate Court - Limits and Costs
Probate derives from the Latin for “to prove”, which refers to proving that the Will presented to the court is indeed the authentic FINAL Will of the person who passed away. Wills definitely make settling estates a lot easier but there are times when carrying out a deceased person’s wishes is delayed.
Probate court jurisdictions have changed throughout American history but have
always involved settling the estate of a person who just passed away. The court
is under the authority of the State Judiciary and applies state laws on probate,
which differ across states but hew close to certain general guidelines.
Probate Court CostsProbate court costs are established through state laws and may consist of any of the following.
• executor or conservator fees
• court document filing fee
• certified copy costs
• surety bond fee
• attorney's fees
• accountant's fees
Costs generally fall around less than 10% of the entire value of the decedent's estate. When the Will is contested, probate costs can pile up!
The Probate PeriodThe probate period depends on the laws of the state that has jurisdiction. In California, for example, the probate period must not last longer than a year. But where federal estate taxes are filed, the allowable period can stretch up to a year and a half.
Other matters that could draw the probate period out are the following:
• When the Will is contested.
• When the estate is large and complex.
• When the heirs cannot be found.
If delays occur, the executor or person in charge of administering the estate should file a formal explanation to the probate court. If the executor fails to do this, the heirs may request the court to order compliance. If the executor still does not comply or is deemed by the court to be unable to adequately perform its duties, then a new executor may be named.
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