In my last blog post I gave explained that Guam law sets probate fees based on the total value of the estate assets. A follow-up question that I have received is, “How do I find out how much real property is worth so I can come up with an estimate?”

The easiest and arguably most cost effective way of getting a value for real property is to use the values used by the Government of Guam for tax purposes. Property tax statements issued by the Government of Guam will show that value. Another option is to request that value directly from the Department of Land Management.

One final note is that, in the vast majority of cases, the probate code uses the value of property at the time the decedent passed away. I have had several cases where a probate case is opened 3 – 5 years after a family member has passed away. Instead of using the year that the case is filed, the probate code requires looking back at the value as of the time of death.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

How much does probate cost on Guam?

by leevin on August 23, 2013

One of the most common questions anyone has when starting the probate process is, “How much will it cost?”

There are 2 types of expenses to think about: (1) costs and (2) fees.

Probate Costs

In order to comply with Guam probate law, the administrator is required to give notice to heirs and creditors.  The notice requirements are met by mailing and publication.  Mailing is required for the hearings at the very beginning and very end of the probate process.  Publication is also required at the beginning of the probate process.  By law, administrators are required to publish a notice to creditors 3 times.

The costs of publication and mailing can total up to approximately $1,250.  On the plus side, these costs can be reimbursed at the end of the probate process.

Probate Fees

Attorneys are entitled to the same fee as an administrator would be entitled to under Guam law.  The amount of attorney fees and an administrator’s fees are based on the value of the estate.  Under Guam law, the fee schedule is as follows:

  • 8% for the first $5,000
  • 5% for the next $10,000
  • 4% for the next $15,000
  • 3% for the next $20,000
  • 2% for the next $100,000
  • 1.5% for the next $350,000
  • 1% for the next $500,000
  • 1% for anything remaining

As an example, let’s assume the estate consists of a single piece of property worth $100,000.  The fees would be:

  • $400 (8% x $5,000)
  • $500 (5% x $10,000)
  • $600 (4% x $15,000)
  • $600 (3% x $20,000)
  • $1,000 (2% x $50,000)

The total attorney and administrator fee for an estate worth $100,000 would therefore be $3,1000.

The last fee need to finalize the probate process are court closing costs.  These costs are also based on the total value of the estate:

  • $8 for he first $1,000
  • $40 for the next $1,000
  • $60 for the next $2,000
  • $75 for the next $3,500
  • $15 for every $1,000 above $7,500

Court closing costs cannot exceed $5,000.

If you have questions about the probate process and costs, you can contact me using the contact form on this website or by calling (671) 477-8894.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Divorce on Guam when the other party is not a resident

July 30, 2013

Before a court on Guam can grant a divorce, the plaintiff or person asking for a divorce must establish at a minimum that they meet the residency requirements under Guam law.  This means that the person requesting the divorce has either (1) been physically on Guam for 90 days or more or (2) the matter […]

Read the full article →

My significant other cheated on me: Can I get sole custody over our child?

January 25, 2012

A common question I get is whether a party going through a divorce or custody dispute can get “sole custody” because the other party is a “cheater.”  Although an act of adultery under Guam law gives courts the discretion to award community property and debt as the court sees fit, the affect of an affair […]

Read the full article →

Jurisdiction over Child Custody Disputes on Guam

December 25, 2011

As discussed in a previous post, Guam law allows for people to obtain a “consent divorce” if one of them has been physically on Guam for at least seven (7) days.  While this may be true for distributing property and debt, Guam law governing awarding child custody has different legal requirements. Guam has enacted the […]

Read the full article →

Division of Community Property in a Guam Divorce

November 30, 2011

Under Guam law, if you are granted a divorce on any grounds other than adultery and extreme cruelty”the community property shall be equally divided between the parties.”   19 GCA 8411.  What does it mean to “equally” divide community property? In the case of Sinalao v. Sinalao, 2005 Guam 24, the Supreme Court of Guam […]

Read the full article →

Residency Requirements for a Divorce on Guam

November 9, 2011

In order to file for a divorce on Guam, at least one person needs to be a “resident” of Guam. The “residency” requirements forpurposes of a divorce depends on whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested. If your case is an “uncontested divorce,” or one where both parties agree to all terms of the […]

Read the full article →