When a loved one passes away, family members are left to sort out their estate.
This can include having the deceased’s “last will and testament” read, and then undergoing the probate process. Probate is where the court will determine the validity of the deceased person’s will.
Many people naturally wonder, how much does it cost to probate a will in Texas?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer on the cost to probate a will in Texas. Fees will vary depending on the complexity of the estate.
Texas does have an option to streamline the process, known as independent administration. If that is provided for in the decedent’s will, administrators and executors can largely perform their duties independent of court supervision. This is one way to reduce the cost.
There are some fees that are standard in a probate. These can include:
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
- Appraisal and accounting fees
- Estate executor’s fees
So how much does probate cost?
Probate Attorney Fees
Attorney’s fees are typically calculated based on the time an attorney has to spend on the case.
When you use an independent administrator, it involves fewer filings and less court supervision, which helps save money. A dependent administration can be costlier since the probate court is more involved and there may be mandatory hearings and filings that are scheduled. In dependent administration, your Texas probate attorney will be involved in:
- Filing the bond
- Making court appearances
- Getting court approval to pay claims and sell assets
- Other necessary tasks as required
A Texas probate court has the jurisdiction to:
- Complete the probate process for wills of deceased people
- Establish guardianships for incapacitated people
- Determine the heirs of anyone who dies without a will
- Administer eminent domain cases
- Supervise court-ordered involuntary mental health commitments, and more.
Court costs are standard and set forth by statute.
The court will charge for things like filing your documents. Fees for different documents, such as an Application for Probate of Will and for Issuance of Letters Testamentary, Determination of Heirship, or Application of Independent/Dependent Administrator, can differ by hundreds of dollars.
The fee for the application will include service by citation by the constable and any other fees allowed by statute. Texas courts also charge to issue letters and orders, other filings, and more.
Accounting fees will also vary based on the value of the estate and what the assets are that are owned.
If there are federal taxes to be paid, then accounting fees will also need to include the preparation and filing of tax returns. If the attorney prepares and files the returns, those fees would be under the attorney fees.
Personal Representative / Executor Fees
These fees are established by statute as well.
The fee may range from what is deemed a reasonable fixed fee up to a certain percentage of the estate’s value. Executors, or personal representatives, can ask for additional “extraordinary fees” for any services that are above and beyond those considered to be basic probate services.
There can be additional fees that you may not even think about.
These could include postage fees, the cost of storing personal property or having it shipped, moving costs, and more. It could result in maybe around 3% to 8% of the total estate being taken away from the beneficiaries, not including income and estate taxes.