How time consuming is the probate process? Although the Executor has the option to distribute some of the decedent’s property earlier, by law the probate cannot be completed and closed up until at least six months after the decedent passed away. And although there are certainly cases of probate dragging on for years, most cases can be wrapped up in less than one year.

How expensive is the process? While it may vary depending upon the attorney involved, the magnitude of any creditor claims, and any disagreements which may arise between the heirs, probate can typically run anywhere from as little as about $2,000 to as much as $5,000 dollars including court filing fees, attorney fees, and the cost to publish the Notice to Creditors in the local newspaper. On top of that, the Executor is also entitled to “reasonable compensation” which will vary depending on the amount of time that he or she is required to spend on the process. And for married couples, these numbers are doubled because of the requirement of a separate probate as each spouse passes away.

Daniel Patchin

Benjamin Monaghan