Results may vary. Speak with an attorney.This tool provides an estimate amount only as to how much money you may or may not be required to pay. An attorney can argue that the proposed statutory amount be increased or reduced.
When someone dies, their debts must be paid and their assets must be transferred to their heirs and named beneficiaries. Traditionally this is done with a formal court proceeding known as probate. Probate has a reputation for being a lengthy and expensive process, but exactly how much are probate fees in California?There are many fees associated with probate in California. The mere act of filing a petition for probate in California incurs a minimum of a $435 filing fee. This fee may be higher in some counties. Once the petition for probate is filed, the court will appoint an executor of the estate if there was not one named in the will. The executor will be responsible for keeping the estate secure, which means paying homeowner’s insurance premiums and maintaining property, all of which costs money that comes out of the estate.
Once the petition has been filed, the estate will need to be appraised. Unless the estate consists of all cash assets, a probate referee will either be appointed by the court or requested by the executor. The probate referee appraises the non-cash assets of the estate and charges 0.1% of the gross value of the estate plus mileage and other miscellaneous expenses for this service. If the executor hires an attorney to settle the estate, the estate will pay attorney fees, which are statutory and based on the value of the estate.
In California probate attorney fees are:• 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
• 0.5% of the next $15,000,000
• A reasonable amount determined by the court for estates valued over $25,000,000.These fees are based on the gross value of the estate. If the estate is valued at $1,000,000, but there is a mortgage of $500,000, the fees will be calculated on the $1,000,000 not the $500,000. Attorneys do not have to charge these fees- they can charge a flat fee or an hourly rate- but most attorneys will charge the statutory fees because the statutory fees will be higher. If there are special circumstances, usually if the will is contested, the attorney may charge additional fees if the court allows it. San Diego Esquire provides a flat fee probate service to California residents.
In addition to attorney fees, the executor of the estate receives fees. The executor is paid under the same scheme as the attorney. Some executors forgo their fees. For example, when the executor was the spouse of the decedent and is the sole beneficiary, if he/she accepts the fee it becomes taxable income. If not, this fee becomes part of the estate, which will not be taxed.When the estate is ready to be closed, the courts charge a fee, usually $435, to end probate. The court charges additional fees for certain filings and to get certified copes of letters, but these fees tend to be less than $100. Because of the many expenses associated with probate, it is not surprising that many people use an experienced estate planning attorney to avoid probate.