If you want to file a probate in California, the probate law does not require you to hire an attorney to settle the estate. The average simple estate can often be settled using the guidelines of self-help materials and the services of a registered legal document assistant to prepare your probate paperwork. This video testimony is from a customer who used our California probate services. Keep in mind, however, that some complications which may need special knowledge or handling by an attorney. They are:
Ambiguities in a will
Contested claims against the estate
Estates that have more debts than assets
Estates that have unresolved claims
One advantage of handling the probate estate work yourself is not having to pay statutory probate attorneys’ fees. Probate attorneys’ fees have been set by law and are based on a percentage of the gross estate. These statutory fees are based on a formula found in California Probate Code §§10810 and 10811. To determine the statutory fees of an estate, use our online probate calculator
. A probate attorney may collect:
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 $9,000,000
0.5% of the next $15,000,000 and
a “reasonable amount” as determined by the court for everything above $25,000,000
For example, in a probate estate with a gross value of $150,000, the probate attorney may collect $5,500. If the estate was valued at $400,000, fees would be $13,000. The value of the estate is not reduced by any mortgages or debt which may exist. If you had an estate with real property worth $600,000 with a $500,000 mortgage, the statutory probate attorney’s fees would be $15,000 based on the $600,000 gross value of the estate, not the $100,000 of decedent’s equity.
Probate proceedings can be categorized into two different types: simplified probate procedures and regular probate. If an estate does not qualify to file under one of the simplified procedures, the estate will need to be administered through a full probate. Click here to learn about options for simplified probate proceedings.