Costs. The fee to file a probate depends on the size of the estate, but the vast majority will be under $1,000. Other costs may include service of documents, publication fees, and bond premiums. In addition, in complex or contested matters, there may be other litigation expenses.
Attorney's Fees. Attorneys fees are set by statute and depend on the size of the estate. Currently, attorney's fees are 4% on the first $100,000; 3% on the next $100,000; 2% on the next $800,000; 1% on the next $9,000,000; « of 1% on the next $15,000,000; and per court discretion above $25,000,000. A court hearing and order are required prior to the payment of any attorney's fees and such fees are generally not paid until final distribution of the estate.
Extraordinary Fees. In some cases, the court may award "extraordinary fees" if the attorney has performed extra work related to the probate, e.g., legal services in connection with the sale of property, litigation undertaken to benefit the estate or in defense of the estate, extraordinary efforts to locate heirs or assets, or accounting services. Again, a court hearing and order are required prior to the payment of any extraordinary fees. Also, under certain circumstances, an attorney may perform extraordinary services on a contingent-fee (i.e., a percentage of the recovery) basis.