Fees on decedents estates changed significantly with the new state budget for fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17. The new fee structure almost doubles the rate on estates larger than $2 million and eliminates the fee cap, which was previously a maximum fee of $12,500. Connecticut now has the highest probate filing fees of any state in the country. It is more important than ever to think about estate planning to protect the assets that remain after paying the increased probate filing fees.

A $5MM estate is useful in the example that follows to show the effects of the changes in probate fees. Before 2016, probate filing fees were capped at $12,500. After 2015, probate filing fees are on a sliding scale with the first $2 million of the estate value costing $5,615 with the remaining $3 million charged at a rate of  0.005% for a total filing fee of $20,615. The total increase in probate filing fees is therefore about $8,000. It is important to note  that the probate fee is based on the gross estate before deductions including amounts in revocable trusts and any gifts previously made in excess of the annual gift tax exclusion amounts.

Pre-20162016 and After
Estate Valued at $5MMEstate Valued at $5 MM
Fee capped at $12,500First $2MM

$5,6150

0.005 all in excess of $2MM

$3,000,000

$15,000

$12,500

$20,615

The chart below summarizes the sliding scale used to calculate probate filing fees and demonstrates that there is no longer a cap. There is some talk that these changes may be repealed, but until then, you have all the more reason to protect your assets through careful estate planning.

Value of EstateProbate Fee
$0 to $500$25
$501 to $1,000$50
$1,001 to $10,000$50, plus.01 of all in excess of $1,000
$10,001 to $500,000$150, plus .0035 of all in excess of $10,000
$500,001 to $2,000,000$1,865, plus .0025 of all in excess of $500,000
$2,000,001 and over$5,615, plus .005 of all in excess of $2,000,000