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Probate Costs in the State of Missouri

Probate involves four categories of fees and costs.

The first fee is the bond premium. The probate estate may have to pay for a guarantee that the personal representative (executor) will properly administer the estate. This requirement can be waived, but if not it is one of the costs of probate in Missouri.

Second, we need to consider the cost of publication. A probate estate must publish notice to creditors in order to announce that an estate has been opened and that they have a limited amount of time if they want to make a claim against the estate.

The third factor are court costs. Every estate must pay fees based on the value of the property being handled in probate proceedings.

The biggest expenses and fees related to probate in Missouri come from a personal representative’s commission and attorney fees. The state of Missouri has a minimum fee schedule for each, which is determined by the size of the estate. Anything above these minimum amounts needs court approval or unanimous consent from all those who will inherit something from the estate.

Here are the fees for probate:

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 anything over a million dollars.

As you can see from these examples, probate can be quite costly…

After Jane's death, her son John hires Andrew the Attorney to help him navigate through probate since he was named the executor and the estate is worth $550,000. Based on the above, John and Andrew are each entitled to the following commissions:

Without including a bond, publication fees, or court costs, $250 + $800 + $2,250 +$8,250+3,750 equals $15,300 for each John and Andrew. Therefore, the total amount would be double $30,600.

If Jane, a widow, dies with a will and an estate worth $2 million, her son John becomes the executor. To handle the probate process, he hires attorney Andrew. Based on this scenario, both John and Andrew are entitled to commissions as follows:

$250 + $800 + $2,250 + $15,000 + $20,000 equals $38,300. In total, the estate would have to pay $76,600 not including the cost of a bond, publication or court costs.

As you can now see, probate aversion is a great idea based on cost alone. Not to mention the fact that everything in the estate would be undetermined for at least six months to more likely a year, if not longer—causing immense frustration and wasting time and energy..

The simplest and most effective approach to avoid probate is to create a revocable living trust.