One of the most common questions I am asked is how much the administration of a probate estate will cost the beneficiaries.
Probate Administration Costs
For 2016, the cost of filing for probate is $531 for the majority of estates. The court also charges an accounting fee and that is determined by the value of the estate. The public notice in the local paper runs between $100 and $500 depending on what part of Oregon you are filing in. If the person died without a Will, the court will normally require a bond. There may also be costs associated with selling property.
Probate Legal Fees
Attorneys' fees in Oregon are based on the number of hours billed and the lawyer's hourly rate. For the simplest of probates, the fees can be around $2000. In general, probate legal fees will run between $3,000 and $5,000. If the estate is large, complex or has unusual assets, the costs can be much higher. If the heirs and beneficiaries are fighting or if there is outside litigation involved, the costs can be much higher.
All legal fees for the probate administration must be approved by the court. Your probate lawyer will file with the court and with interested parties. The court will make a determination on whether the fees are reasonable in light of a narrative and itemized bill. This is a major protection for any beneficiary. Judges will see thousands of attorney fee statements during their careers and will know what is reasonable. Any interested party can object to fee and be allowed to speak the judge at a hearing.