What Will It Cost to Hire a Nevada Probate Attorney?
As with all good legal answers, “It depends.” It depends upon your level of knowledge of Nevada probate law, filing procedures, time requirements, etc. It also depends upon your tolerance for frustration and delays.
The vast majority of people decide that they simply don’t have the expertise nor do they want the headache of dealing with the legal requirements of probate. Just being the personal representative (ie. executor or administrator) of the estate is plenty of work in and of itself. without adding the job of learning how to find your way through the probate maze.
This is particularly true if you’ve just lost a loved one. It is stressful enough to deal with the emotions of such a loss. The last thing you need at a time like that is to be struggling with the ins and outs of probate.
Type of Nevada Probate
Different probate processes will cost different amounts.
Affidavit of Entitlement
This is also referred to as a small estate affidavit. If the estate is small enough to use this type of affidavit, you may expect to pay around $400 to $800, depending upon the law firm.
Set Aside Proceeding
If the value of the estate is less than $100,000 or there is a pourover Will that names a revocable living trust as its beneficiary, a set aside probate procedure can be used. A set aside allows the estate to be distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries without administration.
The cost of a set aside is usually charged on a flat fee basis. You may expect to pay between $2,500 and $3,500, plus court costs.
Summary or General Administration
Probate attorney fees for a summary administration or general administration are typically either charged hourly or as a percentage of the estate. Read our article about the difference between a general or full administration and a summary administration here.
The rates for attorneys that bill by the hour vary. The attorney’s experience and the complexity of the matter can affect the rate.
Fees for probate that use a percentage method are based upon the decedent’s estate value. See below for the statutory percentages.
The Probate Attorney Hired
This is where experienced counsel makes a difference. You may have heard the analogy of not hiring a plumber to perform your heart surgery, or similar analogy. I’ve always found that analogy rather silly.
A better analogy would be not hiring a dermatologist to perform the heart surgery. While the dermatologist is also a doctor and may be very experienced in her field of practice, it obviously doesn’t mean she should practice outside her field of expertise.
The same applies to the legal field. While we practice in the areas of probate, estate planning, and closely related areas, we would not practice divorce or criminal defense law.
In order to have the best experience possible, you want an experienced Las Vegas probate lawyer to remove the headache of dealing with the probate court.
The Size of the Estate
Fees may be based upon the following statutory fee schedule, determined as a percentage of the value of the probate estate:
4% of the first $100,000
3% of the next $100,000
2% of the next $800,000
1% of the next $9,000,000
0.5% of the next $15,000,000
And above $25,000,000, whatever the court decides is reasonable
What about Will Contests
When a Will is subject to probate proceedings, there is always the risk of a contest. Especially if the estate is not distributed equitably or as expected.
Litigation of the validity of the Will will always result in additional fees. This could be easily be tens of thousands of dollars. The cost of probate when there is litigation is almost impossible to predict.
Additional Probate Fees and Costs
Additional costs may include publication fees for notices required by Nevada law, filing fees, and appraisals for real property. Court filing fees vary depending upon the level of probate.
Also keep in mind that if there are creditors that file valid claims, such debts of the estate will normally have to be paid.
And for larger estates, there may be federal estate taxes which are based the estate’s value. Estates that are worth less than the estate tax exemption amount do not need to be file a return. However, if there is a surviving spouse and depending on the circumstances, you may want to file an estate tax return for the spousal portability.
If you have questions about the probate process in Nevada or the cost of Nevada probate, have our team of qualified probate professionals guide you through the probate maze. Call us at (702) 984-4110 for a consultation.