There are usually three costs when we consider probate: (1) The actual probate fee for the county, (2) the legal fee, and (3) the PA Inheritance taxes due.
1. Probate Costs for your County
Probate costs vary from county to county in Pennsylvania. Each county’s Register of Wills office sets the fee for probate.
Typically, the size of the estate determines the base probate fee. It could range from $100 to over $1,000, depending on how large the estate is.
In addition, there are several other typical fees. You must pay extra for “Short Certificates”, which provide proof that a person is the Executor of the estate. You must check with your individual county to find out exactly what the fees are.
2. Legal Fees
Every attorney is different in how they structure their fees. Some PA attorneys loosely follow the Johnson Estate case in Pennsylvania, a case that gave guidance towards fee percentages depending on the size of a probate estate. However, other attorneys charge an hourly rate. The key is that the fee must be reasonable based on the complexity of the matter.
3. Inheritance Taxes
In addition to probate and attorney fees, inheritance taxes (and possibly federal estate taxes) must be paid as well.