Probate Cost: How Is the Cost of Probate Determined in California?

Probate costs

When you die, your family will have a lot on their plate. It’s a stressful time. They must look for your will, take care of your funeral or memorial service, begin the probate process, follow through on the instructions of your will or with the decisions made by the probate court if you had no will, and make an accounting to the court. Probate can take a lot of time. Yet, there’s something many people don’t really think about: probate cost.

How Probate Cost Is Calculated

In California, probate cost refers to the fees that an attorney is allowed to collect for their services when they help a family through the probate process. The current state statutes are as follows:

  • A lawyer may collect 4% of the first $100,000 of the gross value of the probate estate.
  • A lawyer may collect 3% of the next $100,000 of the gross value of the probate estate.
  • A lawyer may collect 2% of the next $800,000 of the gross value of the probate estate.
  • A lawyer may collect 1% of the next $9,000,000 of the gross value of the probate estate.
  • A lawyer may collect .5% of the next $15,000,000 of the gross value of the probate estate.

Keep in mind that we’re talking about probate court. While there are times when heirs fight over belongings and a will may be contested, there’s still significantly fewer appearances in front of a judge than in other areas of civil law. However, there is a lot of paperwork that must be accurately completed and turned over to the court for the judge to review by certain deadlines.

There Are Other Costs as Well

Regardless of whether you decide to hire a probate lawyer, there are other probate costs that you might not expect. You may need to notify creditors and potential heirs via publication. The fee for publication could cost as much as $700. Another probate cost is that of hiring an appraiser. The probate court may order the administrator of the estate to hire an appraiser to value certain property within the estate. The appraise may charge 0.1% of the gross value of the property that is appraised.

Then, there are court filing fees. For a full probate proceeding, you will need to complete at least two complaints and pay a filing fee for each. The filing fee is $435. You will also likely need to pay an addition probate fee of $30 for each petition for a reporter. If you need to obtain certified copies of the Letters of Administration or the order from the judge, you’ll pay for those as well.

Is There a Way to Reduce Costs?

Probate costs add up fast. You could avoid the cost of hiring a lawyer, but that comes with a different price. It can take a lot of time to handle the process on your own. Additionally, not all families are ready to reduce the life of their loved one to nothing but documents and assets. If you’re an heir, we may be able to help you reduce probate cost and possibly even shortening the time the entire process takes. To learn more, use our chat box below to answer a few simple questions.

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