The process of transferring asset ownership and property after the death of an estate owner in Vermont is called probate. It’s a common court process, and it happens often (though not always). Though the probate process is very similar to other states, there are still a lot of questions about the average cost of probate in Vermont.
The simple fact is this: the cost of probate in Vermont will vary, depending on a number of things, such as:
How big, how complex the estate is
How many heirs there are
Whether of not any heirs will contest the Will
What, if any, type of Estate Plans were put into place
If a probate attorney is used
Common Probate Fees in Vermont
While probate costs can vary, there are a number of fees that are fairly certain across the board. You’ll generally have to pay some (or maybe all) of the following:
Lawyer fees (if you hire a probate attorney)
Probate Court Bonds as required by county courts
Executor (Personal Representative) compensation - Vermont is a reasonable compensation state, but they also use the phrase “necessary expenses,” so there’s a bit of leeway there in terms of how much an Executor can and should be compensated
Various professional fees
Common Questions About Probate in Vermont
How Long Does Probate Take in Vermont?
It’s not uncommon for probate to take anywhere from six months to around 18 months in Vermont. The timing directly relates to the size of the estate. Very large, very complex estates can take several years.
How Much Does a Probate Lawyer Cost in Vermont?
Because probate lawyer fees in Vermont will vary, it’s not easy to give an exact amount in regards to cost. Many attorneys will bill by the hour or charge a flat fee.
How to Avoid Probate in Vermont?
Some people would rather avoid probate, and there's a good reason behind this. Probate can be complicated, time-consuming and stressful. You may be able to potentially avoid probate in Vermont through any of the following strategies:
Establish a Revocable Living Trust
Title assets as Joint Tenancy
Create assets that are TOD or POD (Transfer on Death; Payable on Death)
Keep in mind, estates with a value that doesn’t meet or exceed the “small estate” threshold can likely avoid probate completely, or go through a quick version of it.
What is Considered a Small Estate in Vermont?
In Vermont, an estate can be considered a “small estate” when it’s valued at less than $45,000 with no real estate, as long as there is a surviving child, parent or spouse.
Who Pays Probate Fees in Vermont?
Probate attorney fees in Vermont (and all other fees associated with a probate proceeding) are paid for by the estate.