If a trust wasn’t completed, what does probate involve?

California law requires a Probate proceeding if you have assets worth more than $150,000 (gross value, not net) at the time of your death. A will alone merely allows you to designate who the court appointed representative (Executor) will be for your estate and how your estate will be divided. There is still a long, public, expensive court case in the Probate Court required to settle your affairs.

How do I start a Probate Case?

Set up a free, no obligation consultation with an attorney who handles Estate Planning and Probate matters. Bring a certified copy of the deceased party’s Death Certificate along with any Will or other Estate Planning documents.

What is the cost of probate?

Attorney’s fees and Executor’s fees are fixed by law on a sliding scale basis under the California Probate Code. For example, an estate worth $500,000 will cost $26,000 in Probate fees and an estate worth $700,000 will cost $34,000 for Probate fees. Keep in mind those are fees based upon the gross value of assets in your estate (without deducting outstanding mortgages on your home, outstanding debt, etc.) and additional fees are due if extraordinary services are performed by the attorney such as selling a home etc. In addition to all of that, an estate typically incurs out of pocket court costs of at least $3,000-$4,000; the total costs depend on the size of your estate. A Probate proceeding now averages 18-24 months in Southern California.

The information contained herein is general information about the law only. The law is subject to change. If you have a specific legal question and want your question(s) answered, consult with an attorney.