What are the fees for probate in Missouri?
Probate involves several types of fees and costs, which fall primarily into four categories.
First is a bond premium. The probate estate may have to pay for a bond for the personal representative (executor) to guarantee they will properly administer the estate. This requirement can be waived, but if not it is one of the costs of probate in Missouri.
Second is the cost of publication. A probate estate must publish notice to creditors announcing that an estate has been opened and that they have only so much time to make a claim against the estate.
Third are court costs. Every estate must pay costs based upon the size of the estate being administered in probate.
Finally, the largest category of expenses and fees for probate in Missouri are a personal representative’s commission and attorney fees. Missouri law provides a minimum fee schedule for each, which is based upon the size of the estate. Compensation higher than these minimum amounts may be approved by the court or by consent of all distributees.
The fees are:
5 percent of the first $5,000
4 percent of the next $20,000
3 percent of the next $75,000
2.75 percent of the next $300,000
2.5 percent of the next $600,000 and
2 percent of everything more than a million
Now, you can start to see how expensive probate can get with this example…
Mary, a widow, dies with a will and an estate of $500,000. Her son, Rich, is named the executor and since the matter is so complicated Rich hires Dave the Attorney to handle the matter in probate. Now, based on the above, Rich AND Dave are each entitled to the following commissions:
$250 + $800 + $2,250 + $8,250 + $2,500 = $14,050 EACH for a total of $28,100, which does not include the cost of a bond, publication or court costs.
Now you can see why avoiding probate is a great idea, just on cost alone. Not to mention the time, energy and aggravation of having everything in the estate up in the air for at least six months to more likely a year, if not longer.
The easiest and best way to avoid probate is to set up a revocable living trust.