Distributing property after the death of an estate owner in North Dakota is often done through the court-supervised process known as probate. It’s common in the state, and happens in many (though not all) cases when an estate needs to be settled. Many people going through probate have questions, especially when it comes to the average cost of probate in North Dakota.
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Probate cost will vary and ultimately depends on a number of factors like:
Complexity and size of an estate
If any heirs contest the Will
Estate Plans (or lack thereof)
Use of a probate attorney (or not)
Common Probate Fees in North Dakota
While the total probate cost can vary, there are some fees that are pretty common in most proceedings.
Miscellaneous filing and court fees
Any attorney fees
Personal Representative compensation - North Dakota is a reasonable compensation state
Probate Bonds, if required
Various professional fees
Common Questions About Probate in North Dakota
How Long Does Probate Take in North Dakota?
Probate in North Dakota can take anywhere from 9 - 12 months to fully close out, when the estate is fairly simple. The minimum time it can take for a full probate proceeding is six months. More complex estates can take much longer.
What is UPC in North Dakota?
The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) tried to establish a national set of standards for states to reference during the probate process. Unfortunately, only 18 states (including North Dakota) have adopted the code, so it’s not quite as effective as it could have been. Under UPC, there are three types of probate proceedings:
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in North Dakota?
Because probate lawyer fees in North Dakota can vary, it’s not easy to just give a concrete, final dollar figure. Many probate attorneys charge by the hour, while others charge a flat fee.
How to Avoid Probate in North Dakota?
It’s normal to hope to avoid probate in North Dakota. It can be stressful and time-consuming, not to mention costly. You can potentially avoid probate by using some or all of the following strategies:
Establishing a Revocable Living Trust
Titling property Community Property With Right of Survivorship; Joint Tenancy; or Tenancy by the Entirety
Updating your beneficiaries
Naming accounts and assets “TOD” or “POD” (Transfer on Death; Payable on Death)
Estates in North Dakota that are valued at less than the “small estate” threshold can likely avoid probate (or may be able to go through a shortened version of it).
What is Considered a Small Estate in North Dakota?
If an estate is valued at less than $5,000, in North Dakota you can use an Affidavit after a 30-day waiting period has passed. A summary probate procedure may be used if the estate doesn’t exceed the homestead allowance.
Who Pays Probate Fees in North Dakota?
Probate attorney fees in North Dakota (as with other probate-associated costs) are paid for out of the estate.