What is a Probate Court Proceeding?

Probate is a court proceeding designed to create a “financial accounting” upon the death of a person who passes away with more than $150,000 of aggregate net assets not titled in a trust. This process takes place in one of two instances: FIRST- if a persona passes away leaving a Will without an accompanying Trust , or SECOND – if the person has died intestate (without a will or estate plan of any type) or the Will cannot be found.

How Much does Probate Cost?

Probate is an expensive process. In addition to the filing fee paid to the court in the County which the Probate is filed (currently $435) and the $435 final distribution fee, the estate will be liable for 4% of the first $100,000 of the estate, 3% of the next $100,000, 2% of the next $800,000, 1% of the next $9,000,000, and .5% of the next $15,000,000. For estates larger than $25,000,000, the court will determine the fee for the amount that is greater than $25, 000,000. In probates that are complicated by lawsuits or tax problems, the attorney and executor can ask the judge to approve fees that ate higher than those set by law.

The fees listed below are the California statutory fees used to compensate attorneys and executors in probate cases for various sizes of estates. If both the attorney and the executor receive a fee, the amount paid will be double that shown below. The value of the estate is determined, in general, by the inventory of the estate. Debts are not included in determining attorney’s fees and if a house is appraised at $2,000,000, for example, but has a mortgage of $900,000, it is still considered a $2,000,000 asset for the purpose of calculating attorney’s fees.

Estate Value Statutory Fee
$100,000 $4,000
$200,000 $7,000
$300,000 $9,000
$400,000 $11,000
$500,000 $13,000
$600,000 $15,000
$700,000 $17,000
$800,000 $19,000
$900,000 $21,000
$1,000,000 $23,000
$1,500,000 $28,000
$2,000,000 $33,000
$3,000,000 $43,000
$4,000,000 $53,000
$5,000,000 $63,000
$6,000,000 $73,000
$7,000,000 $83,000
$8,000,000 $93,000
$9,000,000 $103,000
$10,000,000 $113,000
$15,000,000 $138,000
$20,000,000 $163,000