Who Pays Probate Fees On A Property

They say that you can’t take it with you and when it comes to the assets that are left behind when someone dies, that certainly includes their house. Not only does the house remain but all of the fees, taxes, and other financial costs that come with a house in probate. If a house is left to multiple people and they attempt to sell the house in probate, who pays probate fees on a property? It’s a good question and one you better start asking if you ever inherit a house and decide you’d like to sell it fast. 

You might think that a will can ensure that you don’t have to deal with probate fees and other costs but you’d be wrong about that. When someone passes away, there are a lot of things that need to tie up and paid for, including debts, taxes, and other owed costs. Not to mention any fees paid in probate if a house is being sold that way. The good news is that the beneficiaries are not responsible directly for these kinds of fees, but it’s important to understand how they are paid and what other costs you need to consider when you are trying to sell a probate property. Let’s take a closer look at probate fees and who pays them. 

Probate Fees: What Are They And Who Pays For Them

model house with probate tag - house in probate

What is a House in Probate?

Before we can get into probate fees, it’s important to understand the probate process and what it means. 

Probate is the name of the legal process that happens to a person’s estate after they have passed away. When someone has left a will and testament, that will be proved as valid under the law in probate. At that point, the instructions in your will be honored and executed and all applicable taxes will be paid. Having a will can help make the probate process run smoother but it won’t let you avoid the probate process.

If your will has spelled out the specific people or parties who will inherit your property and other aspects of your estate, that will be done during probate. It’s a helpful way to ensure that your money and items go where you want them to after you die. With some limited exceptions, the executor of the will is required to follow your instructions and dole out property accordingly. 

If a person dies without a will, a probate court will use the intestate laws of your state to decide how your assets should be divided up. This can make it a bit more difficult and could lead to hard feelings as the court isn’t going to make decisions from a nostalgic or sentimental place, but rather by following laws and best practices. 

Since probate is a legal process, it’s important to be aware of the terms that are going to come up throughout it. The administrator is the person appointed by the court to act as the executor if there isn’t one pointed out by the will. The decedent is the person who has died and whose estate is now in probate. The executor is the representative of the decedent and the estate, ensuring that the instructions are carried out. Intestate is the name of the probate process when a person has passed away without a will while intestacy is the name given to state laws that determine how to handle these kinds of estates. Notice of probate and notice to creditors are the notices that an executor must provide to the will’s interested parties and creditors so that they may understand what is available and what debts need to be paid. Small estate affidavit, summary probate, and summary administration are all names given to the documents and process that can let you skip or cut down on the time needed during the probate period.

Probate Cost and Fees

When it comes to the costs and fees involved with an estate in probate, you can expect to pay between four and seven percent, though it can be more in some cases. 

One of the fees the estate is going to have to pay is court fees. These can range anywhere from a couple hundred to over a thousand dollars, depending on the state and municipality. It also depends on how complex the estate might be and how much work needs to be done for it.

State law also determines what the executor fees will be, though a descendant can say in their will how much they would like their executor to be paid. If they don’t, state law takes precedent. An executor can also ask for “extraordinary fees” if they need to perform tasks that go beyond basic probate duties, such as the need to manage the sale of a business.  

Attorney’s fees are another cost that you’ll need to consider. The amount is usually decided by state law and, like with executors, the attorney can ask for “extraordinary fees” if they need to provide services beyond the usual ones. Not all estates are complicated enough to require an attorney. 

Accounting fees will vary based on the size of the estate and number of assets. These can also include the filing of tax returns.

Bond fees are an amount set by the judge to protect the estate from any kind of shady dealings or misconduct. So if the executor acts outside the scope of their role or does something incorrectly, the bond fees can cover the cost of litigation. 

And don’t forget to consider the miscellaneous fees that can add up during the probate process. These can be small things such as postage and shipping costs to insurance to storage and more. Make sure the estate is accounting for these things during probate. 

Probate Lawyers Fees

When you have a house in probate, that comes with certain costs and fees that need to be paid for. One of the biggest costs you need to consider is that of a probate lawyer. The good news is that the estate pays for a probate lawyer, not the executor and not the heirs. But those costs can add up and take a big chunk out of the estate, which means less money for the heirs and others. The cost is divvied up before the money is distributed so it’s a cost that everyone could bear the brunt of. 

Probate lawyers charge in a number of ways that you need to choose from. Some charge by the hour. You could see rates ranging from $100 to $250/hour, depending on where you live. The good news is that a lawyer who specializes in probate will be more efficient than one who doesn’t, so it won’t require as many billable hours. But still, that’s a lot of money that can add up. 

Other lawyers will charge a flat fee for their services in the probate process. Sometimes people feel better about knowing exactly how much they’re going to pay, rather than waiting to find out how many hours it took. If you do get a flat fee offer from a probate lawyer, you should be clear about what’s covered. They might not cover court filing fees or appraiser’s fees, which could end up costing the estate more money. And if your estate is complicated, that could push the fee higher than expected. 

Some states allow for lawyers to be paid a percentage of the estate, but Massachusetts does not allow for that in its probate process laws. 

Question mark heap on table

Who Pays for Probate Fees?

When it comes to probate fees, there are many options for how the estate can pay for them. First, if there is enough cash available, the estate can simply pay for the fees upfront and consider that part of the cost of doing business.

Another way to pay probate fees is if certain parties involved will agree to a distribution of estate proceeds. This would mean that attorneys or other parties would front the probate cost on the guarantee that they will be repaid when the estate closes. 

You can sell real estate during the probate process and it’s a great way to generate cash in order to cover probate fees. Selling your house in probate to a cash buyer like Ocean City Development is simple and fast. Plus, you get cash for your probate property. They also don’t require any repairs, cleaning, or upgrades because they buy houses as-is

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a solution to pay probate fees on a property and don’t have the money on hand, consider selling your house as-is to a cash buyer like Ocean City Development. We buy houses in Massachusetts and surrounding areas. We can make you a fair, no-obligation offer is as soon as 24 hours. Contact us today to start the process while you’re in probate. 

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