My father had a trust/will in Florida. He left the auto to me in the will. The secretary of stae required me to have the will certfied in circuit

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My father had a trust/will in Florida. He left the auto to me in the will. The secretary of stae required me to have the will certfied in circuit

before I could sell the vehicle. I thought you have a trust to avoid probate. My father had very little medical bills but the probate attorney were required to look for creditors. The entire process is costing $6000 for a $6500 auto and $4000 in medical bills. Please advise.

Asked on July 2, 2009 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Probate fees can be expensive.  You do have a trust to avoid probate, but when there are assets outside of the trust, those are distributed by will or by intestate succession if there is no will, and must go through probate.  I practice in California, and here attorney fees are statutory.  For a small estate, attorneys can charge no more than 4% of the first $15K.  Your attorney is charging a great deal more than that, but it probably includes all the court fees, the cost of notifying creditors, etc.  I would have him or her itemize all of the fees so you know exactly what you are paying for. 

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Probate fees can be expensive.  You do have a trust to avoid probate, but when there are assets outside of the trust, those are distributed by will or by intestate succession if there is no will, and must go through probate.  I practice in California, and here attorney fees are statutory.  For a small estate, attorneys can charge no more than 4% of the first $15K.  Your attorney is charging a great deal more than that, but it probably includes all the court fees, the cost of notifying creditors, etc.  I would have him or her itemize all of the fees so you know exactly what you are paying for. 


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