How much does probate cost?
The cost of probate is set by state law. When all the costs are added up – these may include appraisal costs, executor’s fees, court filing fees and certified copies, costs for a type of insurance policy known as a “surety bond,” plus legal and accounting fees–probate can cost from 4% to 7% of the total estate value, sometimes more. If someone contests the Will, the costs could be significantly higher.
The legal fees associated with probate are set forth in California Probate Code Section 10800. The ordinary statutory fees are determined based on the size of the probate estate as follows:
- 4% of the first $100,000
- 3% of the next $100,000
- 2% of the next $800,000
- 1% of the next $9,000,000
- ½% of the next $15,000,000
- For all amounts above $25,000,000,a reasonable amount to be determined by the Court
The personal representative (i.e., the Executor or Administrator) is also entitled to the statutory fee for their services performed relating to the administration of the estate.
In addition to the ordinary statutory fees authorized by the Probate Code, the Court generally awards fees for extraordinary services relating to the following, for example:
- The sale of real property
- Locating beneficiaries
- Preparation of the estate tax returns (if required)
Extraordinary fees are those services provided to the estate over and beyond those required during the ordinary administration of the estate.
In addition, the personal representative has the duty to prepare the formal accounting if not waived by the beneficiaries. However, in practice, the attorneys generally prepare it since even in the simplest estates, the accounting process is complex. The Court generally entitles the attorney to payment from the personal representative for our costs relating to the preparation of the court accounting, if required. This fee is deducted from the statutory fee to which the Executor or Administrator would be entitled.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Am I responsible for paying the rest of my deceased spouse’s bill?
- Are holographic wills valid in California?
- Do I have to leave assets to my children equally?
- Do I have to use a lawyer for the probate process?
- Does all property go through probate when a person dies?
- Does an executor or administrator receive compensation?
- Does the Court supervise the personal representative?
- How are taxes handled in probate?
- How can an estate plan avoid a conservatorship?
- How can I find out if there was a Will?
- How can I protect my children?
- How do creditors get paid?
- How long does probate take?
- How much does probate cost?
- How should I prepare to meet with my estate planning attorney?
- How will the debts of the decedent affect the beneficiaries?
- If I am named as executor in a Will, do I have to serve?
- If I establish a revocable living trust, will I lose control over my assets?
- If I serve as executor, will I get paid?
- If I transfer title to real property to my living trust, does the bank have the right to accelerate my mortgage?
- Is a will that was prepared in another state valid in California?
- Is it necessary to amend my will if I wish to bequeath certain assets to specific family members or friends?
- Is it possible to appoint a corporate trustee?
- Is my trust, which has title to my property, immune from lawsuits?
- Is probate necessary?
- Must I transfer all of my assets to my living trust?
- My child is married, and I don’t trust my child’s spouse. In the event they divorce, how can the inheritance be kept separate?
- Should estate planning documents be kept in a safe deposit box at a bank?
- Should I choose simplified probate procedures?
- Should I include a Medi-Cal planning section in my estate plan?
- What are disclaimer trusts and A-B trusts?
- What are the responsibilities of an executor or administrator?
- What does the Personal Representative do?
- What happens if the personal representative fails to perform his or her duty?
- What if someone dies and I have the Will in my possession?
- What if someone objects to the Will?
- What if the decedent owned land in more than one state?
- What if there is no Will or I cannot find a Will?
- What is a durable power of attorney?
- What is a pour-over will?
- What is a self-proving will?
- What is Probate?
- What is the best way to title pay-on-death bank accounts, retirement accounts and life insurance policies?
- What is the purpose of a life insurance trust?
- What would be the outcome if I became mentally disabled, and had no estate plan in place, or only had a will?
- When can a Will be contested?
- Who can and cannot be the personal representative?
- Who can contest a Will?