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How much does it cost to probate an estate in New York?

| Jun 18, 2021 | Estate Planning

The legacy that someone leaves behind when they die truly depends on how carefully they saved and planned while they were still alive. Whether you are an executor carrying out someone else’s last wishes or a testator trying to plan your own legacy, avoiding probate could be a priority.

After all, probate proceedings can be quite expensive. They can take months, forcing family members to wait indefinitely to access their inheritance. Probate also consumes some of the value of the estate through court costs and other expenses. How much will it cost for an estate to go through probate in New York?

The exact cost will depend on the circumstances

Probate proceedings can be as unpredictable as divorce court. You may think you just need to present the court with a copy of the will and begin distributing property, only to face a challenge by an angry disinherited family member.

In the more conflict there is, the longer you will spend in court and the more you will pay for probate. The average probate proceedings will consume between 4% and 7% of the estate’s total value. It’s worth noting that the value of the estate can also affect how much you have to pay to the court, with the fees for filing probate going up as the total value of the estate increases. 

Can you minimize probate costs?

As an executor, there are certain things you can do to keep probate expenses as low as possible. These include being judicious in your collection of documentation and your organization of information so that you can quickly and efficiently prevent necessary records to the courts.

Talking openly with family members about the estate plan and your administration efforts can also reduce challenges and conflicts that could increase probate expenses. As a testator, there are many ways for you to reduce what you would spend on probate. You might move assets into a trust so that they don’t have to pass through probate court. You could add a no-contest clause to your last will to prevent expensive probate challenges.

Understanding the assets in the estate can help you better minimize probate expenses as someone planning an estate or administering one.