If you have begun to look into estate planning in Woodland Hills, then you have likely heard the recommendation that you do what you can to avoid having your estate go into probate. The primary reason why so many may tell you to avoid probate is the financial cost that it can exact on your estate. This may inevitably prompt you to question exactly how much the probate process can cost.
Probate costs can be found in Section 10810 of the California Probate Code. They are based upon the total value of your estate as determined by your personal representative. This determined by taking the total appraisal value of all your estate's property, plus any gains added to it through receipts, and then either adding or subtracting from the it the net difference between the appraisal value of the property and it's actual sale price.
The costs primarily associated with probate are those owed to the attorney of your personal representative that processes your case through the court. According to the law, these are not to exceed:
- Four percent of the first $100,000 of the estate’s value
- Three percent of the next $100,000
- Two percent of the next $800,000
- One percent of the next $9 million
- One-half percent of the next $15 million
- A reasonable cost determined by the court for amounts in excess of $25 million
The Probate Code goes on to say that in addition to the aforementioned costs, the court may also mandate that extra compensation be paid for “extraordinary services” provided by the attorney. These may include work done by a paralegal under his or her supervision.
You may be able to bypass the costs imposed by the court by specifying the amount that is to be paid to attorneys in your estate planning documents.