Transferring asset ownership and distributing property after the death of an estate owner is often done through a process known as probate. It’s a common court-supervised proceeding in Rhode Island. While it’s common in many (but not all) instances of administering an estate (and despite the process being very similar to other states), there still seems to be many questions about the average cost of probate in Rhode Island. Simply put, cost will vary and depend on a number of things, including:
Complexity and size of an estate
Whether or not any heirs contest the Will
What (if any) type of Estate Plans were created
Use of a probate attorney
Common Probate Fees in Rhode Island
Though there can be a wide range of probate costs, some costs are more common than others, such as:
Miscellaneous court and filing fees
Personal Representative compensation - Rhode Island is a reasonable compensation state
Various professional fees
Administrator/Executor/Probate Bonds as required by county courts in Rhode Island
Common Questions About Probate in Rhode Island
How Long Does Probate Take in Rhode Island?
Probate in Rhode Island will take at least six months, and the filing of both state and federal tax returns (if required) are due no later than nine months after the estate owner’s passing. Of course, the entire process can take much longer to complete for very complex or large estates.
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in Rhode Island?
Because probate lawyer fees in Rhode Island can differ so much, it’s not easy to give a general, accurate estimate. Many probate attorneys will bill hourly, but others will charge a flat fee to handle probate.
How to Avoid Probate in Rhode Island?
It’s common to hope to avoid probate. It can be stressful, costly and time-consuming. You may be able to avoid probate in Rhode Island using any of the following strategies:
Make a Revocable Living Trust
Title property as:
Community Property with Right of Survivorship
Tenancy by the Entirety
Name beneficiaries on accounts and policies/create assets as TOD or POD (Transfer on Death; Payable on Death)
Finally, estates with a value below the “small estate” threshold can likely avoid probate or at least go through a speedier version of it.
What is Considered a Small Estate in Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, you can use a summary probate procedure as long as there’s no real estate and probatable property is valued at less than $15,000. Note, Rhode Island doesn’t have an Affidavit procedure for small estates.
Who Pays Probate Fees in Rhode Island?
Probate attorney fees in Rhode Island are paid for by the estate (as are all other probate fees).