Personal representative attorney fees in Wyoming are generally determined by the size of the estate. The more valuable the estate, the higher the attorney fees.
The most common way to establish estate value is to use the valuation as set out in the Report of Appraisal.
Now the Report of Appraisal will only be prepared if a “formal” probate is opened. If the value of the estate is less than $200,000.00, then the estate can be probated with an Affidavit for Distribution for personal property (WS § 2-1-201) or an Application for Decree of Distribution for real property (WS § 2-1-205).
Statutory Schedule of Fees
However, the following schedule of statutory fees is useful to determine the fees charges by the personal representative’s attorney:
- For the first one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) of the value, ten percent (10%) or $100.00;
- For the amount over one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) of the basis, five percent (5%) or $100.00 plus an additional $200.00;
- For the amount over five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) and not exceeding twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) of the basis, three percent (3%) or $100.00 plus $200.00 plus an additional $450.00;
- For all sums over twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) of the basis, two percent (2%).
I don’t think you will find any attorney that will probate a Wyoming estate valued at less than $20,000.00 for the statutory fee of $750.00, unless it is a very simple estate containing something like a car and a bank account (of a few thousand dollars). Most attorneys will charge at least a $1,000.00 plus costs.
However, most attorneys will probate a Wyoming estate for the statutory fee of approximately 2% of the value reported in the Report of Appraisal. So, if the estate consists of a bank account of $100,000.00 and a house worth $250,000.00 and cars and motorcycles worth $50,000.00, then the estate will be valued at $400,000, and the attorney’s fee will be .
In such a case, the attorney fees will be $750 for the first $20,000.00, and 2% for the rest ($380,000.00), or about $7,600.00 plus $750.00, or $8,350.00.
So, the precise calculation is as follows:
PRAF = 0.02(AV – 20,000) + 750
Where PRAF is the Personal Representatives Attorney Fee, and AV is the Appraised Value on the Report of Appraisal.
The Rule of Thumb for Personal Representative Attorney Fee
However, if you are not that into algebra, then you can just use the rule of thumb, which is a little over 2% of the appraised value.
By Steve Harton
Steve Harton is a probate attorney in Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming. If you have questions about probate in Wyoming, please call him at (307) 382-5545, or visit hartonlaw.com/probate.