Probate Worries: How Much Does It Cost

Probate is a time-consuming process that comes with certain fees. Although not all estates have to go through probate, for those that do, the expenses for this process can be substantial. So how much does probate cost in Tennessee? We’ll answer that question and more below.

When Is Probate Necessary?

How much is it to probate a will? Before answering this question, you want to be sure that probate is necessary for your situation. Only estates that have assets titled solely in the name of the decedent (the person who died) need to go through probate. With certain estate planning documents and retitling of assets, probate can be avoided, but this must be done while the decedent is still alive.

In Tennessee, there’s a simplified version of probate if the estate’s value does not exceed $50,000. A small estate administration takes significantly less time than a full probate proceeding and will cost less.

Before initiating the probate process, contact an experienced probate attorney to help you determine if this legal proceeding is necessary and what alternatives might be available.

How Much Does Probate Cost in Tennessee?

How much is the probate fee? Since every estate is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The cost of probate varies based on different factors, such as the following:

  • The value of the estate,
  • The type of assets in the estate,
  • Whether the decedent had estate planning documents,
  • The number of creditors,
  • The number of heirs and beneficiaries,
  • If there are tax implications,
  • How long the process takes, and
  • If anyone challenges the estate in court.

How much does it cost to probate a will in Tennessee? With all of these variables, it’s challenging to provide an average number in response to this question. However, let’s discuss the different costs and fees that are often part of probating an estate.

What Are the Probate Fees in Tennessee?

Although not every estate will incur these probate fees, it’s helpful to know what costs to anticipate.

Probate Court Fees

Probate is a court-supervised proceeding. Thus, you will owe court fees when you file the petition with the local probate court. The amounts vary based on the court and the size of the estate.

Personal Representative Fee

A personal representative is a person or entity responsible for administering the estate. The personal representative is entitled to a reasonable fee for their services, and the probate court determines what is reasonable. The court also takes into account any extraordinary services provided by the personal representative when determining the appropriate fee.

Personal Representative Bond

A personal representative bond is a type of probate bond that guarantees the personal representative’s performance of probate duties. This bond protects the estate’s beneficiaries and creditors from any wrongdoing or mismanagement of the estate by the personal representative. Not all personal representatives are required to purchase a bond. 

Professional Service Fees

Again, depending on the complexity of the estate, you may have to hire professionals to assist you with probate. Suppose you’re unfamiliar with the probate process. In that case, you may want to hire a probate attorney to help you file a probate petition, communicate with the court, distribute assets, and advise you on the consequences of the law.

Some estates include assets that are difficult to value, so hiring an appraiser may be necessary. For taxable estates, people often enlist the help of a CPA and a tax attorney. Each professional will charge their individual fee, increasing the cost of probate.

Miscellaneous Fees

There are some miscellaneous fees that may come up depending on the estate. For example, you may have to pay to insure and store the decedent’s property. Probate can also involve mailing paperwork, so anticipate postage fees.

How Much Is a Probate Lawyer?

The cost to hire a probate lawyer in Tennessee depends mostly on the complexity of the estate and the lawyer’s experience. If you’re dealing with an estate that’s involved in litigation, for example, you’ll want to hire a more seasoned attorney who will likely have a higher rate than someone right out of law school.

Lawyers typically charge a flat fee or bill by the hour for their services. Discussing the attorneys’ fees before engaging them is important, so there are no surprises. 

But keep in mind that a probate attorney can save you time and money by ensuring that all paperwork is complete and filed appropriately and on time. The probate attorneys at Batson Nolan PLC have experience handling both simple and complex estates.

Who Pays Probate Fees?

The decedent’s estate is responsible for paying the costs of probate. In other words, the probate fees come out of your family’s inheritance. This is one reason why estate planning is so important; you can plan to avoid probate and leave more behind for your loved ones. 

How Long Does Probate Take?

As we mentioned, the time it takes to complete probate directly impacts the probate cost. Estates with few assets and no claims against the estate can get through probate quickly, whereas estates with a large number of heirs and highly-valued assets may take longer. The length of probate, just like the cost, largely depends on the estate’s complexity. The process can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete. 

Contact the Probate Lawyers at Batson Nolan PLC

During a time of loss, you don’t want to be distracted by filing petitions, meeting deadlines, paying creditors, notifying heirs, and going through all the other probate-related tasks. As one of the oldest law firms in Tennessee, the attorneys at Batson Nolan PLC have been helping families navigate the probate process for years. We are here to make this complex legal proceeding seamless and hassle-free for you and your family. To schedule a free consultation with one of our probate lawyers, call our office or contact us online