While many people avoid probate if possible in California— often through the use of robust estate planning and trusts— you might be in a position where it is either preferable to go through probate or unavoidable to enter probate considering the final configuration of the estate. Many people in your position have the same first question: How much will probate cost? While this price varies depending on the complexity of your estate holdings, there are some legal guidelines that might give you an idea of how much you should expect to pay for the resolution of the estate.
The California Probate Code lists a graded tier system for estate administrator fees during probate court. Your probate attorney, meaning the individual representing the personal representative, is entitled to a large percentage of the first $100,000 and an increasingly small percentage of several tiers over this amount. The court determines the fee for any larger amount: The exact numbers would be based on your final estate value.
You might expect to encounter other significant fees during the probate process. Costs often arise from sources outside courts and lawyers, such as your accountancy and auditing fees. While your attorney’s fees come from the final value of the estate, the prices for other services might be calculated independently the probate outcome. You might also consider the amount of time you are likely to spend. While you might accelerate the process by doing everything in the correct order, complex cases and large estates tend to require time before the court reaches a final resolution. Please take this as educational material only. It is not intended as legal advice.