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Cost of Probate in South Dakota

Curious about the cost of probate in South Dakota Read our guide that covers everything about South Dakota probate fees.

Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell, @MitchMitchell

Product Counsel, Legal, Trust & Will

Probate, the court-supervised process used to transfer asset ownership and distribute property to new owners after someone passes away, is common in the state of South Dakota. Despite how common it is, many people have a lot of questions about the process. A large majority of these questions stem from wondering: what’s the average cost of probate in South Dakota? 

[Need help with probate? We offer helpful probate services and will work with you to find the plan that meets your needs. Learn more.]

The simple fact is this: cost will range. It ultimately will depend on a number of things, for example:

  • If a probate attorney is used

  • How complex and big an estate is

  • If any of the heirs contest anything in the Will

  • What type of Estate Plans are available  

  • Etc.

Common Probate Fees in South Dakota

Despite the cost of probate varying, there actually are a few fees that are typical in most proceedings. It’s normal (and pretty common) to have to pay some or all of the following:

  • Attorney fees

  • Filing fees

  • Court fees

  • If required, a Court Fiduciary Bond

  • A variety of professional fees (I.E., Land Surveyors, etc.)

  • Personal Representative compensation - South Dakota is a reasonable compensation state; however, the law does allow for factors to be considered upon the court’s determination about what that “reasonable” fee is

  • Etc. 

Common Questions About Probate in South Dakota

How Long Does Probate Take in South Dakota?

Probate can take anywhere from around six months to about a year for an average estate to be settled. Of course, it’s reasonable to expect that larger, more complex estates can take years.

What is UPC in South Dakota?

One of 18 states to have adopted the Uniform Probate Code (UPC), South Dakota follows this code that was created to streamline the probate process nationally. Under UPC, there are three types of probate proceedings:

  • Informal

  • Unsupervised

  • Supervised formal 

How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in South Dakota?

Because probate lawyer fees in South Dakota can widely vary, it’s not easy to offer a definitive cost that you should expect. Some attorneys bill hourly, and others charge a flat fee.

How to Avoid Probate in South Dakota?

A lot of people would prefer to avoid probate entirely. This makes sense, given the complicated and oftentimes stressful nature of the proceedings. You may be able to avoid probate in South Dakota using any of the following strategies:

  • Establish a Revocable Living Trust

  • Title property in Joint Tenancy

  • Create assets/accounts that are TOD or POD (Transfer on Death; Payable on Death)

Note that estates with a value that doesn’t meet or exceed the “small estate” threshold in South Dakota can likely avoid probate or at least go through a streamlined version of it. 

What is Considered a Small Estate in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, estates valued at less than $50,000 can use the Affidavit process. You can also use the “informal probate” regardless of size. 

Who Pays Probate Fees in South Dakota?

Probate attorney fees in South Dakota and other probate-related costs can be paid for out of the estate.


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