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Cost of Probate

Probate is a lengthy and tedious process that can last anywhere from eight months to a year (or more in certain cases). In most states, attorneys charge by the hour or charge a flat fee for the entire probate process. In California, however, attorneys are allowed to charge a “statutory fee”, which ends up being a percentage of the total value of assets that are put through probate. That fee can skyrocket the price of probate and make it an expensive and overwhelming process.

Statutory Rates for Probate Cases in California

  • 4% of first $100,000

  • 3% of next $100,000

  • 2% of next $800,000

  • 1% of next $9,000,000

  • 0.5% of next $15,000,000

There are some exceptions to those rates and in complicated cases, the court can order higher attorney fees to be paid based on the value of the estate. The price of probate typically includes appraisal costs, court costs, personal representative fees, and accounting fees among other things. Some probate fees can be negotiated with your attorney, however, others are set by the state and cannot be lowered.

In California, the probate stationary fee is generally based off the gross value of the deceased person’s estate, which can be a huge misrepresentation of the actual money available, since debts and other issues are not considered. According to various studies over 60% of Americans do not have an estate plan, and that fact has turned probate into a $2,000,000,000 (billion!) industry. That money, however, comes from families who lost a loved one, and instead of passing those assets down to heirs and beneficiaries the government ends up on the receiving end of those fees.

Get Your Inheritance Now!

If you are in the unfortunate situation of going through probate and need an attorney to help you through the difficult process, our team at Elder Law Services of California is here to help. Give us a call at  1-800-403-6078 or (855) 353-3752 to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our experienced probate experts. If you are not going through probate, but would like to avoid the process in the future, now is a great time to start an estate plan to protect your assets for future generations of your family.



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