Average Legal Fees for Settling an Estate in Pa

Once all assets are valued, an esta­te tax return is filed with the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Reve­nue. The decla­ra­ti­on indi­ca­tes the gross value of the total assets of the esta­te and all the cos­ts of the esta­te. This results in a cal­cu­la­ti­on of the net worth of the esta­te. For examp­le, if the pro­per­ty has a gross value of $200,000 and the expen­ses and cos­ts are $40,000, the net worth is $160,000. The net worth of the esta­te is taxed. The­re is no inheri­tance tax when trans­fer­ring pro­per­ty to a sur­vi­ving spou­se. Pro­per­ty trans­fer­red to the child­ren or grand­child­ren of the decea­sed per­son is taxed at 4.5%. If the assets are trans­fer­red to the deceased‘s sib­lings, the tax rate is 12%. For all other types of bene­fi­cia­ries, inclu­ding friends, neigh­bors, nie­ces, nephews and distant cou­sins, the tax rate is 15%. The­re is no tax on assets trans­fer­red to eli­gi­ble not-for-pro­fit orga­niz­a­ti­ons. In Penn­syl­va­nia, you can app­ly for sum­ma­ry pro­ba­te if esta­tes are worth less than $50,000 (exclu­ding eli­gi­ble fun­e­ral expen­ses, real esta­te, and fami­ly pay­ments). The­re is no affi­da­vit pro­ce­du­re in AP. Some peop­le want to know in advan­ce what the fees will be, without the varia­bi­li­ty that comes with bil­ling after the time has passed.

For the­se cus­to­mers, we are wil­ling to offer a fixed fee that will be char­ged during the order when it is won. Fixed fees are based on our esti­ma­te of what is nee­ded to pay the esta­te, and for this rea­son (espe­cial­ly for lar­ge esta­tes) they are gene­ral­ly favor­ab­ly com­pa­ra­ble to collec­ting a per­cen­ta­ge. After the death, the first judi­cial inves­ti­ga­ti­on con­cerns assets in the name of the decea­sed, such as real esta­te, shares, bank accounts, vehi­cles and pen­si­ons. It is also necessa­ry to iden­ti­fy what the decea­sed per­son owes, inclu­ding mor­tga­ges, loans, fee accounts, and medi­cal expen­ses. In Penn­syl­va­nia, it can take up to a year to sett­le an average esta­te. Keep in mind that more com­plex or lar­ger dis­counts may take lon­ger. Deter­mi­ning exe­cu­tor­s­hip com­mis­si­ons and attor­neys‘ fees based on the size of the esta­te is cer­tain­ly easier than con­si­de­ring a varie­ty of fac­tors in all cases, espe­cial­ly for rela­tively com­mon esta­te admi­nis­tra­ti­ons and for esta­tes whe­re no objec­tions are rai­sed to the com­mis­si­ons and fees char­ged. The per­cen­ta­ge method the­re­fo­re appeals to orphan court jud­ges, alt­hough the Penn­syl­va­nia Supe­ri­or Court has prac­ti­ce in expert opi­ni­ons at Sono­vick Esta­te, 373 Pa. Super 396 (1988) and Pres­ton Esta­te, 560 A.2d 160 (1989).

Mar­tin Law Firm‘s esta­te lawy­ers regu­lar­ly repre­sent per­so­nal repre­sen­ta­ti­ves in pro­ba­te cases. We hand­le cases in the Regis­ter of Wills and Orphan Courts in Mont­go­me­ry, Phil­adel­phia, Bucks, Dela­ware and Ches­ter Coun­ties. If you have been appoin­ted as the per­so­nal repre­sen­ta­ti­ve of an esta­te in a person‘s will, plea­se con­ta­ct us today at 215–646-3980. If things go well in com­pi­ling finan­cial infor­ma­ti­on and deter­mi­ning the expen­ses of an esta­te, an inheri­tance tax return can be filed wit­hin five to nine mon­ths of the death. Penn­syl­va­nia requi­res that the tax return be filed and that inheri­tance tax be paid wit­hin nine mon­ths, unless an exten­si­on is gran­ted. A Penn­syl­va­nia judge issued a noti­ce to which he atta­ched a list of the per­cen­ta­ges he used for his own coun­sel in audi­t­ing esta­te accounts, and several other jud­ges have sin­ce writ­ten opi­ni­ons showing that they also use this calen­dar. Alt­hough this appen­dix (repro­du­ced below) best reflects the views of some jud­ges in some esta­tes, it nevertheless pro­vi­des gui­d­ance on deter­mi­ning the appro­pria­teness of admi­nis­tra­ti­ve cos­ts in other esta­tes. After the Regis­ter of Wills has issued let­ters of will to the per­so­nal repre­sen­ta­ti­ve, the per­so­nal repre­sen­ta­ti­ve is now respon­si­ble for the admi­nis­tra­ti­on of the esta­te. Here is an over­view of the duties of the per­so­nal repre­sen­ta­ti­ve: Esta­te lawy­ers are enti­t­led to “rea­son­ab­le remu­ne­ra­ti­on” for their ser­vices. Esta­te attor­neys typi­cal­ly char­ge an hour­ly rate, or they char­ge a per­cen­ta­ge fee based on the value of the esta­te and the types of assets in the esta­te. For hour­ly ser­vices, lawy­ers often requi­re an upfront pay­ment to cover some or all of the sche­du­led fees.

The lawy­er usual­ly sends the per­so­nal repre­sen­ta­ti­ve a mon­th­ly invoice detail­ing the work done, the time spent and the fees for that mon­th. If we were to cal­cu­la­te using the John­son Esta­te model, the heirs to the $2.3 mil­li­on esta­te would pay $36,500 more in fees ($58,250 minus $21,759) than the heirs to the $600,000 esta­te for pro­bab­ly the same amount of work. The­se are just some of the many tasks and respon­si­bi­li­ties of a per­so­nal repre­sen­ta­ti­ve. Many esta­tes have uni­que pro­blems and the per­so­nal repre­sen­ta­ti­ve is respon­si­ble for mana­ging or sol­ving all tasks and situa­tions that may ari­se. Ser­ving as the exe­cu­tor of an esta­te in Penn­syl­va­nia is a dif­fi­cult and time-con­suming task. In addi­ti­on to the emo­tio­nal for­ce requi­red, the exe­cu­tor must be able to quick­ly digest many laws and respon­si­bi­li­ties enfor­ced by various bureau­cra­ci­es and insti­tu­ti­ons. This is a monu­men­tal task in a for­eign field. For­tu­n­a­te­ly, the­re is help.

Exe­cu­tor – Read this befo­re hiring a lawy­er. The­re are several ways in which lawy­ers incri­mi­na­te exe­cu­tors and esta­tes. But befo­re you hire one, read this arti­cle in order to under­stand what‘s best for you and your par­ti­cu­lar pro­per­ty. Never hire a lawy­er without a writ­ten fee agree­ment docu­men­ting the fee method, regard­less of the method you use to cal­cu­la­te the fee. Many GPs char­ge dis­counts based on a 5% to 6% flat rate. Howe­ver, in many cases, espe­cial­ly for lar­ge and medi­um esta­tes, this fee struc­tu­re is exces­si­ve and even exceeds the fee poli­ci­es lis­ted below. Others char­ge a flat fee based on John­son Esta­te gui­de­li­nes. The gui­de­li­nes are set out below so that you can make an infor­med judgment about fixed costs.

Many lar­ge firms and lawy­ers expe­ri­en­ced in esta­te plan­ning and esta­te char­ge an hour­ly fee. Many cus­to­mers pre­fer this approach. Howe­ver, this has an ele­ment of unpre­dic­ta­bi­li­ty that exe­cu­tors may not like. At the very least, if you are an exe­cu­tor, you should in good faith request an esti­ma­te of the­se fees and be bil­led regu­lar­ly and noti­fied as soon as pos­si­ble if the fees exceed that esti­ma­te. In many cases, the best fee struc­tu­re from an exe­cu­tor and esta­te per­spec­ti­ve is the nego­tia­ted packa­ge. This is the method I use in my busi­ness main­ly becau­se it is cus­to­mer-ori­en­ted. Cus­to­mers want to know that the fees are fixed and reflect the work they will be doing. Cli­ents can also assess whe­ther the fees are rea­son­ab­le or not given the divi­si­on of labour bet­ween the law firm, exe­cu­tor and fami­ly, accoun­t­ants or others. As a con­su­mer, it is best for a lawy­er to check the facts of your par­ti­cu­lar esta­te and then pro­vi­de a fixed fee based pri­ma­ri­ly on the work to be done by the firm. Final­ly, under Penn­syl­va­nia law, attor­neys‘ fees for esta­tes are not set by law, but are sub­ject to review.