Probates can be expensive. Typically, your surviving spouse, son, daughter, or friend will not be able to handle a probate by themselves. They will hire an attorney who is competent in probate and the local rules of procedures. As you know, attorneys will charge a fee. While the fee varies greatly from place to place, the fee to hire a probate attorney will be thousands of dollars, not hundreds.
Another cost associated with probate is administrative. All courts require a filing fee. This is typically a few hundred dollars. Often, notice is required to be sent to “reasonable ascertainable creditors.” If there are creditors but they are not known, then notice of the probate is published in the newspaper. This also involves an expense.
Occasionally, disputes break out in probates. I have seen disagreement over the values of real estate between heirs. The Court ordered appraisals at an expense to the estate. In other cases, the Court ordered attorneys to act as “guardians ad litem” for the benefit of a disabled person who claimed to be an interested party and the expense to the estate was substantial.
When Elvis Presley died in 1977, he left his beneficiaries an estate of a little over $10 million. However, after probate Lisa Marie lost 73% of Elvis’s estate because of probate, costs, fees, and taxes. The cost to probate his estate was over $7 million dollars.
Clearly, this illustrates what can go wrong in a probate but you might be surprised how often something goes wrong. This brings me to the next disadvantage.
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