The Costs to Probate an Estate in California

The cost of probate is not something that one typically takes into consideration until the time actually comes to set up a probate. One would assume that the fee would be the same as a standard estate attorney fee like setting up a standard will and so forth. However, the state of California statutory provisions determine attorney fees when it comes to the probate process.

What is probate?

Probate is the name given to the legal process of distribution of assets to the designated beneficiaries after the death of the heir. This process also will validate any existing last will and testament. If there is no will, the estate will be disbursed under the intestate succession laws of the state of California.

What factors are involved in the cost of a probate in CA?

When you are paying for the probate process in California, you are paying for more than just your attorney. Your attorney is responsible for the following (among others, depending on the specifics of the probate):

  • Consultations with the executor of the estate
  • Court representation
  • Paperwork preparation
  • Any Consultations with family members of the deceased
  • Tax return preparations for the estate
  • Property maintenance costs
  • Any fees if the property is for sale


Other fees involved in the probate process are as follows:

  • CPA/tax attorney
  • Real estate appraiser
  • Any advertising costs
  • Probate court costs
  • Surety bond

Every case is different and might involve additional costs. These are just the most common factors that can contribute to the overall cost of the probate process.


What is the cost of probate process in the state of CA?

Following is the breakdown of the state statute percentages according to the state of California for the probate process:

  • 4% of the first $100,000 of the gross value of the probate estate
  • 3% of the next $100,000
  • 2% of the next $800,000
  • 1% of the next $9 million
  • .5% of the next $15 million

The estate attorney will receive one half of the lump sum and the other half will go to the executor of the will.

The following is a reference for estimated probate costs based on the above:


$100,000 $8,000
$200,000 $14,000
$300,000 $18,000
$400,000 $22,000
$500,000 $26,000
$600,000 $30,000
$700,000 $34,000
$800,000 $38,000
$900,000 $42,000
$1,000,000 $46,000
$2,000,000 $66,000
$3,000,000 $86,000
$4,000,000 $106,000
$5,000,000 $126,000



Is there a way to avoid or reduce these costs?

The best way to avoid these exuberant fees is to set a plan now, so your family can avoid these fees after your death.  One alternative is to opt for a living trust instead of, or in addition to, a will. A living trust is not subject to probate. All your assets and property will be disbursed to your designated beneficiaries via your appointed trustee. There are no court fees and the entire process only takes a few weeks as opposed to the long drawn out probate process. Once the property has been disbursed according the living will, it is null and void and therefore cannot be contested.


At Titanium Asset Protection, we understand that you want to make the probate process as smooth and cost-effective as possible for your loved ones. Your family has enough to handle in dealing with their loss, so we will do everything in our power to help make this process less intimidating. Please contact us at (714)-827-9955 for a free consultation. A member of our experienced team will gladly answer any questions or concerns you might have regarding the probate process.


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