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How Should Advance Fees in Probate be Handled?

An advance for probate fees must be placed in the trust account like any other advance for fees. A court order approving the fees in probate must be entered by the district court before any fee can be taken from the trust account.  Iowa R. of Probate 7.2.  Also, a notice and accounting must be given to the client or clients no later than the day that any withdrawal of probate fees is made from the trust account. Finally, unless otherwise specially ordered by the district court, fees in probate can be taken no earlier than the following:

  1. ½ no earlier than after the federal estate tax return is prepared, or if a federal estate tax return is not required, no earlier than after the Iowa inheritance tax return is prepared, or if no inheritance tax return is required, no earlier than when the probate inventory is filed.
     
  2. The final ½ no earlier than when the final report is filed AND the costs are paid.

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