Usually, the cost to probate an estate in Ohio is closely tied to how long it takes to probate the estate. This is largely due to the fact that most lawyers charge an hourly fee for probate work. More complex estates take more time and, therefore, are usually more expensive.
In addition to attorney's fees, the cost of probating an estate in Ohio usually includes:
When determining the total value of an estate, the court only considers assets that are subject to probate. Some assets, like certain retirement and other investment accounts, or assets that are placed in a trust, are not subject to probate.
For smaller estates, where the total value of probate assets is less than $100,000, an Ohio probate attorney may be able to file a Release from Administration. If the total value of the estate is less than $5,000, an Ohio probate attorney can file a Summary Release from Administration. While court costs and attorney's fees will still apply, for smaller estates, these are the least expensive options.
Probating a more complicated estate will be more expensive. The lawyer handling the estate will need to spend more time working on it. Many times, a complex estate will require the services of experts like an accountant, tax attorney, experts in business valuation, real estate and other appraisers, insurance analysts, and financial planners. While hiring these experts is an expense, many times they are are necessary. If your lawyer suggests hiring an expert, make sure you understand why your lawyer believes the services of an expert are required.
Regardless of the size of the estate, you are better off hiring an attorney to handle the probate of an estate. Ohio probate laws are complicated, with strict filing deadlines. Missing a deadline or filing the wrong document can have serious and costly consequences.
For smaller estates, some people are tempted to try to save a few dollars by handling probate themselves. Unfortunately, this strategy often backfires, and people end up spending more money than they would have if they hired an experienced Ohio probate attorney up front.
If there is a challenge to the Will, you can expect the cost of probate to increase. In a Will Contest, someone with standing, like a child, step-child, or adopted child, challenges the Will, claiming the Will is not valid. A Will Contest requires a hearing by the probate court. Any court hearing will require additional attorney time preparing for and attending the court hearing. This additional time adds to the cost of probating the Will.
If you need assistance probating a Will in Ohio, contact us at Wolfe Legal Services today, I work with people throughout the greater Columbus area, including Dublin, Bexley, Upper Arlington, Marysville, Hilliard, Delaware and Newark, and throughout Franklin County, Delaware County, Union, and Licking County. Call (614) 263-5297 any time or complete our online form.