Potential probate clients who phone our office often ask “what are the costs to probate in California?” Not surprising, the answer will depend on who you choose to help you with the process. Most lawyers charge by the hour or collect a flat fee when representing clients. However, when filing a California probate, statutory provisions govern attorney fees. Most people are surprised to learn that when faced with having to file a California probate… there is another option to hiring an attorney!
The fee an attorney is allowed to charge in probate can be quite high. Often the fee falls dramatically short of being justified compared to the amount of work actually done. In most probate cases, there is no trial and little to no court appearances. Fees are primarily paid to cover the paperwork services the attorney performs (which is usually done by the attorney’s paralegal). Use our convenient probate calculator to find out what the statutory attorney’s fees would be in a particular case. Our calculator will not only show you the attorney fees costs to probate in California but also how much the estate will save using our non-attorney probate services.
Costs to Probate in California with Attorney vs Non-Attorney
The costs comparison of using the services of a non-attorney vs an attorney to assist with the probate process might surprise you. Below are two comparison scenarios:
As you can see, the costs to probate in California can vary dramatically depending on which service you choose to help you through the process. Unless family members and creditors are fighting over assets, an attorney is not necessary to probate an estate. As mentioned above, probate is largely a matter of paperwork. At A People’s Choice, we can help you complete and file the forms with the appropriate court. You do not have to hire an attorney to probate an estate in California! An executor or administrator can charge the above referenced statutory fee as well. Note, the executor may not necessarily be the attorney. The estate’s appointed executor can retain an attorney to assist in probating the estate. This means the attorney and executor can both receive a statutory fee as reflected above.
Other Expected Costs to Probate in California
Other costs to probate in California include newspaper publication fees and the probate appraiser fee. The newspaper publication fee is somewhat consistent, ranging typically from $200 to $700, depending on the newspaper that handles publishing the probate notice. On the other hand, the probate appraiser, is allowed to charge 0.1% of the gross value of the appraised property. Assets of $500,000 would demand a probate referee fee of $500 plus mileage and miscellaneous copying costs.
Of course, there are also court filing fees as well. In a full probate proceeding, there are at least two Petitions that must be filed, both of which trigger the payment of a court filing fee. The current court filing fee for the Petition to Probate is $435. Another filing fee of $435 must be paid with the Petition for Final Distribution. In addition, most courts also charge a court reporter fee of $30 with each Petition. There are also other costs of probate associated with obtaining certified copies of Letters and recording the Order, but these are nominal and do not usually exceed $100.
As you can see, fees and costs to probate in California can quickly add up. Contact us for more information on how to save money when probating your loved one’s estate.
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