Probate is the legal proceeding that takes place after the death of an estate owner. It validates a Will, appoints a Personal Representative (Executor) and finally, transfers ownership of assets and property to rightful heirs.
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There can be a wide variety of costs associated with probate. Typically they will depend on how complex an estate is, as well as if there are any major complications or delays.
The final cost of probate in Iowa will depend on multiple aspects of the probate proceeding and the estate structure. Things that come into play could include:
Is there is a solid Estate Plan
Will a probate attorney be hired
What is the size/complexity of the estate
Common Probate Fees in Iowa
There are some pretty standard probate fees in Iowa. It’s not uncommon to pay any (or all) of the following along the way:
Court and filing fees (determined by the value of the estate)
Probate attorney fees - if an attorney is hired
Personal Representative fees - Iowa is a reasonable compensation state; typical fee is two percent of the estate value; Executors can waive their fee (which would be taxable)
Professional fees: I.E. Appraisers; Land Surveyors; Accountants; Etc.
Probate/Administrator/Executor Bonds - amount determined by courts
Common Questions About Probate in Iowa
How Long Does Probate Take in Iowa?
Probate can take two years to fully close (sometimes longer in extremely complex or contested estates). Iowa state law mandates estates must be closed within three years after the second publication is placed to creditors. An extension may be granted by the courts in extreme cases.
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in Iowa?
If you’re considering hiring a lawyer, you’re likely wondering what probate attorney fees in Iowa will actually cost. Iowa has laws surrounding what a probate attorney can charge. A judge can order higher fees if an estate has extreme value. Often, attorneys will charge a flat rate plus two percent.
How to Avoid Probate in Iowa
If you’re looking for ways to avoid probate in Iowa, any of the following may be options to consider:
Use a Living Trust
Title assets with Joint Ownership
Open POD (Payable on Death) and/or TOD (Transfer on Death) accounts/assets/policies
Have a small estate (more information below)
What is Considered a Small Estate in Iowa?
Small estates may be able to avoid probate entirely. In Iowa, the small estate threshold is as follows:
Summary probate procedure: Allowable if the estate’s gross value doesn’t exceed $100,000.
Affidavit procedure: Allowable if the estate is valued at less than $25,000 and there isn’t any real property to distribute; 40 day waiting period.
Who Pays Probate Fees in Iowa?
Fees to cover the cost of probate would be paid for out of the estate. This would even include probate lawyer fees in Iowa.