By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

It isn’t uncommon as an estate planning attorney to have clients come in who have previously lived in other states. The reason they come see me is they want me to review their Estate Planning and make sure that the documents they have will be valid and useful for them while they live in Idaho. This inevitably leads to discussions about the state they previously lived in. Based upon these discussions and also based upon my own research I’ve come to learn that probate in Idaho is extremely inexpensive.

Here are some basic facts that I’ve learned about probate and why I believe it is fairly inexpensive in Idaho:

The Costs of Probate in Other States

In many states the cost of probate are controlled by statutes. These statutes state specifically the amount of money that must be paid to the court, and to the lawyer, and two the executor, in completing a probate. Without naming a specific state the AARP currently estimates that the costs of completing a probate in most states is equal to 8-10% or more of the estate’s gross value, which means before any of the debts are paid. These costs must be paid prior to the estate being distributed to the decedent’s heirs.

Let’s do a quick example of what this means in practical terms by using the lower 8% as the number that the AARP has estimated. Let’s say that including your house, your cars, and all your valuables that your estate is worth $200,000. Given the value of homes and other property in Idaho this is not an unusual number but would be considered an “average” estate in Idaho. If the costs of completing the probate are 8% of $200,000 this amounts to a cost of $16,000! Again this would be the cost of the probate before creditors of the estate are paid.

It’s no wonder that people are concerned about doing a probate when they see these kinds of numbers. $16,000 is a big chunk of money that is taken from the estate before any distribution to heirs is made.

The Costs to Probate in Idaho

Having looked at the average costs of a probate in other states let’s now take that same example and do a probate through Idaho and se where we come out. In Idaho the filing fee for doing a probate is $166. After that the total costs and fees for most “average” estates that we complete for our clients is somewhere between $4,000 to $4,500.

To be fair, the costs of probate in Idaho could go up if there are creditors to deal with or if family fights about the Last Will and Testament or the estate have to be completed. However this is also true of a probate in other states as well so that really isn’t a differentiating factor.

When comparing the examples above, it doesn’t take a math genius to see that there’s a huge difference between a cost being $16,000 and a cost being just $4,500 when completing a probate of the same estate. Again, this is why I’ve come to firmly believe that Idaho is not only a great state to live in, it’s also a great state to die in.


When it comes to estate planning, you should never just do nothing. If you have questions about a simple estate plan or using a trust for yourself or for your family and loved ones, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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