A Somerset attorney has expressed concern about what he calls "huge, tremendous, gigantic" fees to be charged, beginning next year, by Kentucky county court clerks for filing documents.
John G. Prather Jr. said the fees, often increased by 500 percent, are " ...chilling on people in dire straits with an aging or ill parent or spouse and trying to make arrangements to care and provide for that person on a limited amount of resources."
Prather said a will, normally $8 for filing with the county court clerk (after judicial approval/probate) will be $47, according to the 2020 fee schedule. There is an additional $46 fee if a will is either disclaimed or renounced.
Also, Prather said:
• Deeds, somewhat dependent on length, rarely are $20 to file. This cost to file will increase to $50 under the new fee schedule.
• Powers of Attorney, for which attorneys usually charge $20 for legal services, will be $50 to record.
• Filing fees for standard mortgages will increase to $80. MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System) usually somewhat longer, will be $126.
• Every mortgage or lien needs to be released. Often releases are a few short paragraphs and on one page. Charge to file one page is $46 under the new fee schedule.
• Bail bonds (when a person pledges property as security for release) which, when we did away with "bondsmen" was supposed to decrease the cost, now are $63 for the filing fee.
"This is NOT a Pulaski County Court Clerk issue but a statewide matter," Prather emphasized.
The new fee schedule takes effect January 1, he noted.
Efforts to contact an official with the Kentucky County Clerk's Association were not successful. Bill May, executive director of the clerk's association, did not respond to several attempts to reach his office by telephone, and an e-mail with questions about who or what agency approved the new fee schedule elicited no response. Pulaski County Clerk Linda Burnett was securing voting equipment after Tuesday's election and was not available for comment.