Whether you are an executor of an estate or an interested party in a probate case, discovering the probate cost can be shocking. In fact, at times, probate expenses can completely negate any assets beneficiaries were to receive! As a result, in order to keep a decedent’s funds in the estate, it’s beneficial to cut probate costs wherever possible.

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What our Clients Say...
“VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! My experience with A People’s Choice was EXCELLENT!! I retained their services to help me with the probate process after unexpectedly losing my Mom. I received quotes from 2 lawyers locally and they were 3 to 4 times the price. All communications from the staff were punctual and very thoroughly explained. They were there to support me the entire time. Any and all questions I had were explained as needed with very quick responses. There were NO HIDDEN FEES or charges. They have a very easy to use portal to access all of the documents. I can’t say enough good things about the work that they did for me!!! Thank you to all the staff. You are an amazing team and I appreciate everything you did to help my family and I when we needed it most!!”
Bryan A.
“The entire team at A People’s Choice were very supportive in our probate case. Losing a parent is extremely difficult, and so is the subsequent paperwork.  A People’s Choice made it easier and charged a very fair price, saving us thousands in attorney fees. What I liked a lot was the transparency and digital tools used. Documents were managed via email and on a platform. Payment for court items was easy. I appreciate that they use modern methods in an old school industry and most things could be done remotely. All in all, I can definitely recommend A People’s Choice if your case is straightforward. Thank you to Sandy and team for helpful us get here! What a huge relief! I’m glad we had your support along the way. Made it way less stressful and way more manageable.”
Jenn C.
“I cannot say enough about the time and money this company saved me. With their help I finished Probate in Tulare Co on my brother estate in little over 12 months. I am a letter carrier with no legal training, yet , I completed the entire process mainly because A People’s Choice walked me thru each step. They filed most papers electronically which resulted in me needing only three court appearances (and saved me from many trips to Visalia.) Keep in mind, all probates are different but if you have limited resources I recommend this company. The Probate Judge complimented me on the good work I received from A People’s Choice, saying this was not always to case with other legal help offices.”
Jack M.
“I used A People’s Choice to prepare and file documents to probate my sister’s estate.  I began the probate process in pro per and hired them after discovering the difficulty in processing the probate by myself.  Very knowledgeable with good technology to keep me informed.  Their fees were significantly less than what I would have had to pay for an attorney, yet their services were excellent. I can’s see where an attorney would have been any better (or as good). Highly recommend this service.”
Ron C.
“Can’t say enough about the level of service and professionalism I received working with A People’s Choice. Emails were always responded to quickly and thoughtfully. They really care about the process and helping you get the best result with no up-selling. Of course, they can’t provide legal advice, but I was referred to an attorney when I needed some questions answered who was very reasonable and easy to get a hold of as well. The process played out according to plan, and I ended up saving a lot of money by going with A People’s Choice over an attorney.”
M. Rice
“I am writing to give A People’s Choice my utmost recommendation. Living in New England, I found them on the web. After speaking with a staff member on the phone I had the confidence to give them my business. A People’s Choice handled my probate case with great professionalism and knowledge. My case turned out to be more complicated than originally believed, and the staff walked me through each step. They always responded promptly to my email questions. In the end, their service was exactly what I hoped for; they saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to do it from across the country. They were truly a pleasure to work with.”
K. Levenson
“A People Choice provided excellent support with the appropriate legal documents and filing process in a spousal property petition after my husband passed. Lawyers wanted to charge me a fortune. However, once I spoke with someone at A People’s Choice, they took on my case and guided me through every step. A People’s Choice has years of experience, which gave me a sense of trust and confidence. I always got immediate feedback from every email request. If you need probate help, I would highly recommend A People’s Choice.”
Sylvia A
“I had a great experience with my California probate case using A People’s Choice! The people that assisted me were so helpful.  I certainly could not have done this probate by myself.  The best part was that I was able to save over $10,000 in lawyer fees!  All my emails were always returned so quickly. Needless to say, I am a very satisfied customer.  I would highly recommend A People’s Choice to all my friends and family!”
Joi C
“When my mother-in-law passed away last year, we didn’t know what to do. We contacted A People’s Choice and from day one they were very helpful. They held our hand every step of the way, and if I had a question any time of the day or night someone got back to me within a few hours. I highly recommend A People’s Choice if you don’t know what to do and don’t want to pay the high price of a lawyer, especially if you don’t have much money.”
Mikki C
“A People’s Choice helped us throughout our entire year-long probate making the process very easy and manageable while at the same time saving us thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees. Not only were they extremely friendly and fast to respond to our questions but they made the process simple enough that we hardly ever had to contact the courthouse directly and we even had a hearing done without an appearance. Would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!”
A. Vuckovich
“I must say that A People’s Choice is a very responsible and effective company. The staff there is very nice and replied to all my questions by email quickly. With their help, I accomplished the probate in 8 months successfully and saved at least $10,000.00 in attorney fees, so I strongly recommend everybody to contract with A People’s Choice and let them help you with your legal documents. You will be very satisfied with their work as I did!!!!”
C. Chiu
“Thanks to A People’s Choice, I was able to get through a probate matter very smoothly. I had not one issue with the Courts. They guided me through the whole probate until the very end. I live up north, but that didn’t matter, A People’s Choice did an excellent job keeping me informed with everything that I needed to do. I saved THOUSANDS of dollars by going with A People’s Choice. You can’t go wrong, no matter what your needs are. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay out a percentage to an attorney. Many thanks to the staff at A People’s Choice for the great help they give to everyone in their times of need like I was! Thank You.”
R. Leonard
“When my father passed away without a will, we needed help handling the transfer of his assets. Since there weren’t significant assets, I didn’t want to spend too much on the legal paperwork. A People’s Choice offered just the right service we needed. In particular, the staff was very responsive to our document filing needs, helping to turn around corrections almost immediately. They helped to ease a tough situation.”
Michael C.
“I used A People’s Choice for help with a probate matter. My grandfather died Christmas of 2016. He had a living trust, but no one was able to find it. We went to A People’s Choice, and we were able to do a probate affidavit to get what was left of my grandfather’s estate. Took two days for the documents to be prepared and the bank accepted them without any questions. Sandy was the one who assisted us, and we really appreciate the help that was provided. A+ service.”
David R.
“A People’s Choice worked on my probate case for over 1 year. Their knowledge, dedication, and commitment to clients are exceptional, preparing the required legal documents, and all the court filings. They used the e-filing system which really expedited the process. They always answered my emails in a very timely manner and were professional. The probate process is long and sometimes seems overwhelming. It’s also very expensive, A People’s Choice saved me thousands of dollars as compared to an attorney. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your probate needs. It’s cost effective, and they handle the entire process from beginning to end!”
C.K..
“Probate itself is a frustrating and expensive process. A People’s Choice was professional and courteous throughout a long probate process. Everyone I came in contact with at A People’s Choice was exceptionally helpful, patient, and professional. For those entering into the probate process, I must warn you that it is difficult to understand. The staff at A People’s Choice makes it as tolerable you could wish for.  The people who work there were kind, efficient, and understanding.  If you email your questions, they’ll get back to you and won’t make you feel like you are ignorant if you are unclear about any part of the process.”
Marcel B
“I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents, but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. After searching the internet, I found A People’s Choice. I was relieved to know that I would get the exact service that I needed at an affordable price. The staff was very professional and helpful with my legal documents. They worked around my schedule and responded to my emails in a timely manner. They took care of all the paperwork and filing and kept me posted. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your legal documents as you will get outstanding service at an affordable price.
Sharon B.
“After not having my call returned from a probate lawyer, I looked into doing a Spousal Property Petition myself.  A People’s Choice assisted me through the whole probate process and everything went smoothly.  When I appeared in court, I didn’t have to say a word. The judge just said, “granted.”  Using A People’s Choice I saved thousands of dollars, and I’m so glad that probate attorney didn’t return my call.  I highly recommend A People’s Choice.”
Donna G.
“A People’s Choice walked me through the entire probate process. This company is very professional and helpful and made a scary probate pretty much stress free. I would send an email with a question I had thought of over the weekend with the expectation I would get an answer on Monday but lo and behold, I often got an answer within minutes! Thank you to the staff for your guidance and patience to talk me through such a difficult time. You made the process very smooth! Probably saved us about $10,000! We are very pleased and will be referring our friends/family to A People’s Choice!”
L. Garrett.
“I had hoped to have my probate process taken care of by myself to save money. After the fourth attempt to file at the Clerk’s office, I left in tears and faced the reality of hiring an attorney. I look on the internet to find one and came across A People’s Choice. They offered a price that was way below what attorneys charge! They guided me through every step of the process and wrote up all the paperwork so that all I had to do was sign. It was really an amazing experience. They are a pleasure to work with.”
D. Chase.
“Thank you so much for all your help through this California probate process.  By using your company instead of a California probate lawyer, we were able to cut our expenses dramatically.  Thank you for answering my many questions and for giving me a heads up on documents that could be prepared in advance in order to save time and money.  There was always someone available to help! Thank you again.”
Craig K.

Types of Fees in Probate 

Probate is so expensive due to a plethora of court-mandated fees. For example, executors are responsible for ensuring the estate pays the following:

  • initial filing fee ($435 in most California counties)
  • final distribution filing fee ($435 in most California counties)
  • court reporter hearing fee (typically $30)
  • newspaper publication fee ($180-700)
  • referee appraisal (0.1% of non-cash assets)
  • third-party costs (approx. $1200-1800)
  • statutory attorneys’ fees (ranges)

Unfortunately, some of these fees are unavoidable. However, executors can avoid some probate costs, either by self-representation or by avoiding probate altogether!

Avoidable Probate Costs

1. Attorneys’ Fees

Believe it or not, attorneys’ fees account for a huge percentage of the probate cost in California. In fact, California probate attorneys get paid both statutory and extraordinary fees.

When it comes to statutory fees, California laws outline exactly how much probate attorneys can charge. More specifically, probate lawyers are entitled to 4% of the first $100,000 of the estate’s value, 3% of the next $100,000, 2% of the next $800,000, and 1% for amounts over $1 million. Thus, the larger the estate, the higher the attorneys’ fees. Not to mention, a lawyer may also charge extraordinary fees based on the value of the estate, time spent performing extraordinary tasks, and the outcomes of those tasks. Therefore, estates and heirs benefit greatly from avoiding these fees altogether… but how exactly is that possible?

Probate Without a Lawyer

Luckily, successful probate without a lawyer is possible! While representing oneself in a probate case is not always the easiest task, there are endless free resources available to help executors through the process. For example, A People’s Choice’s blog is full of information on probating estates. Plus, local law libraries have guides for the probate process and self-representation in court! Finally, local probate courts provide information on local rules and court-specific documents.

That said, if you decide to represent yourself in a probate case, there are other options for legal document assistance! Specifically, registered legal document assistants such as A People’s Choice are here to help you complete and file your legal forms from start to finish. Plus, A People’s Choice offers a range of services, from simple document assistance to full-service help throughout the entire probate.

While we are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice, A People’s Choice can help you ensure you are accurately completing the necessary forms to settle your loved one’s estate. Not to mention, we can keep probate cost down by saving you thousands compared to what you would spend on an attorney.

2. Courts’ Fees

Between filing, hearings, and other miscellaneous fees, repeated interactions with the court makes probate that much more expensive. However, not every estate requires a full probate. In fact, some estates are eligible to have assets distributed to beneficiaries under California’s simplified probate procedures.

Specifically, certain small estates are eligible for transfer by affidavit. Plus, others are transferable via a spousal property petition. While utilizing these simplified procedures will not save executors from paying all court fees, it will lessen the load quite a bit!

Small Estate Affidavits in California

Below is a quick description of California’s quick probate procedures for small estates in California.

Be sure to read up on the specific processes and requirements for each of these and other small estate procedures in California.

Spousal Property Transfer Petition

Finally, individuals with decedent spouses can file a Spousal Property Petition to transfer property without a full probate proceeding. While there will be a court hearing, this process is much simpler than probate. Spouses must simply fill out and file the petition along with their spouse’s will and a copy of any agreement (if applicable). Then, before the hearing, spouses must serve necessary parties and file an Order for a Spousal Property Petition. Feel free to contact A People’s Choice for more help with this process.

Keep Your Probate Cost LOW – Hire A People’s Choice Today!

Ultimately, the most effective way to keep probate costs low is to work with a legal document assistant. As long as the estate in question is simple and uncontested, A People’s Choice can easily help you prepare and file the required documents. Call us today at 1-800-747-2780 for more information.

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A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!

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