Did you know that in many states, attorney’s probate fees could be whatever a court approves as “reasonable”? And in 1997 U.S. Tax Court in New York allowed an attorney’s probate fee of $1,600 per hour for a total of $368,100, declaring that the fee “was reasonable under New York law”!
For an uncomplicated estate with a value of $500,000 (not much by today’s standards), a probate attorney fees can easily amount to $10,000 – $15,000.
The moral of this post: you may want to learn about a number of legal probate-avoiding means such as revocable living trusts, joint tenancy and tenancy by entirety, “pay-on-depth” designations, life insurance beneficiaries, etc.
Source: a great book by attorneys Denis Clifford and Cora Jordan – “Plan your estate”.