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How Much Does a Probate Cost in Idaho

It's very common for a client who comes in to obtain their own customized estate plan to talk with us about the costs of a probate and the process involved. It's good that clients are thinking that far down the road, because once a basic estate plan is established, the next step is carrying out that estate plan which usually does involve a probate. To define it simply, a probate is the legal process where a court authorizes an individual to do two specific things: (1); care for and transfer property from an estate to the decedent's family and loved ones who are still living, and (2) deal with the decedent's creditors and debts. The main thing to understand is that not all probates are the same.

As a premier Idaho estate planning firm, the estate planning team of attorneys at the Racine Law Office work to create not only customized estate plans, but also to assist family members through the probate process when a loved one has passed. Our talented and knowledgeable estate planning lawyers includes partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. The attorneys on our team are highly rated and have received numerous positive reviews from current and past clients, other attorneys, and the judges that we work with regularly.

If you have recently had a loved one pass away, or if you are simply looking down the road of the future at the potential probate needs of your family and loved ones, we are confident that we can help you. When it comes to probate in Idaho here are the three main types of probates that exist and what the typical costs are for each of them.

1. A Small Estate

Under Idaho law, there is a provision that specifically provides for small estates. The reason for this is because the law recognizes that a small estate should not use up a good portion of its own assets simply to complete a probate. In this instance there is a mechanism whereby family members and loved ones of a person who has passed away can use affidavits as a means of transferring property rather than having to go through a regular probate process. However, there is a catch. In order to qualify for a small estate, the person who died could not have their name on the deed to any real property, homes, or land. Additionally, in order to qualify for a small estate the individual who died cannot have an estate that is worth more than $100,000 regardless of what is in it.

If an estate meets these two requirements, then it can be considered a small estate. A small estate does not require any proceedings in a court with a judge. The only requirement is that an affidavit be produced that would allow the transfer of property from the decedent to those who are still alive. Depending on the number of affidavits that are needed in order to transfer property, and other paperwork that may be required, the costs for completing a small estate typically runs between $500 to $800.

2. A Summary Proceeding for a Surviving Spouse

A second type of proceeding that is a little different than a regular probate is what we call a summary proceeding for a surviving spouse. In this instance, the only real requirement is that in fact there is a surviving spouse of the decedent. A summary proceeding can be used by a surviving spouse even when there is land, homes, or real property involved or even when the value of an estate is worth more than $100,000. Because the law assumes that most spouses will already be joint debtors to any creditors that exist, the need for a regular probate process, which is specifically designed to deal with the decedent's creditors, is really not necessary. Through a summary proceeding, the surviving spouse is specifically agreeing to the fact that they will be bound by any of the creditors of the deceased spouse. This means that they are agreeing that any obligations the deceased spouse owed will now become their personal obligation.

A summary proceeding is one that does still require documents to be filed with the court. These documents will state and identify who the surviving spouse is, and would also identify any real estate, or other property that will be transferred to the surviving spouse. The court reviews these documents and enters an Order that specifically details the property that is being passed from the decedent spouse to the surviving spouse. This Order provides notice to the entire world that the surviving spouse is now the sole owner of that property.

The only real limitation to a summary proceeding is that there must be a surviving spouse. When there is, a summary proceeding is a great way to accomplish transfers without having to worry about the full cost of and time involved in a regular probate. A summary proceeding usually costs around $1,950.00.

3. A Regular Probate

If an estate does not qualify for a small estate proceeding, and or if there is no surviving spouse or the surviving spouse does not want to deal with the decedent's creditors, then a regular probate is required. Again, the threshold requirement is that the decedent owned more than $100,000 in assets in their estate when they passed away, or they have their name on a deed to any real of property or land of some kind. When these criteria exist a regular probate must be completed.

According to Idaho statutes a regular probate usually lasts between six to eight months in time. The reason for this is that there is a required time period where notice is given to creditors and they have an opportunity to file a claim with the estate to establish the debt that is owed to them. A regular probate includes the process of naming a personal representative who is responsible for the handling of the estate, the payment of bills to creditors, and the distribution of assets to the decedent's heirs as set forth either in their last will and testament, or under the laws of intestacy when there is no will.

There are many steps involved in a regular probate. Oftentimes there are family disputes and or disputes with creditors that have to be resolved as well. The cost of a regular probate typically runs between $4,000 to $4,500 assuming there are no lengthy disputes that require additional court proceedings.

For more than 70 years, we have helped numerous clients through the probate process and proceedings listed above. If you have recently had a loved one pass away, and you are in need of help in determining which type of probate proceeding you can use, we can help you too!

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to Help You

Our experienced Estate Planning team of attorneys can help you and your family with your Idaho estate plan or with your probate needs. Whether you are seeking your own customized Estate Plan or need a Probate for a loved one who has passed, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a consultation with the Racine Olson team. You can also email us directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning and Probate problems.

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