What Are The Costs of Probate?

Probate is something you do not want your loved ones to have to deal with when you are gone. The reasons for this, to put it simply, are time and money. Probate can tie up assets and property for months and even over a year in some cases. It also can be extremely costly between court and attorney fees. Also, the executor is entitled to fees as well, although they will sometimes waive the fee.

In terms of attorney fees, California is one of the states that allows an attorney to be paid a percentage of the estate’s value. California’s fee schedule is as follows:

  • 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 million
  • ½% of the next 15 million
  • “a reasonable amount” of anything over $25 million

This is a very large amount of money to be paid for counsel and the Executor receives an equal amount. Disputes among family members can also lengthen the probate process and continue to eat up money from the estate.

Worried about your estate being squandered throughout the probate process? There are ways to avoid probate, or at least reducing the real estate and property that is subject to probate. One of the main ways to avoid probate is to seek the counsel of an attorney experienced in estate planning early on, while you are healthy enough to do so.

Setting up a trust is one of the best ways to protect your property. Creating a trust with an attorney will ensure that any property in the trust is not part of the rest of the estate that would be a part of probate. The trustee has the power to either keep or transfer any property within the trust after your death and without a probate hearing.

Other techniques to prevent probate include creating joint property and gifting. An attorney can provide you with all of your options and together you can choose how to plan your estate so that your loved ones can avoid probate after your death. The costs of probate are too steep to not plan ahead.

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