One common question we get is “how much does it cost to probate an estate?” The answer depends on numerous factors, including the size or value of the estate. Thus, probate referees are used to appraise the estate and determine the fair market value of the assets involved in the probate action. It should be noted that in determining the fair market value, mortgage and other debts are also considered.California Probate Code Section 10810 sets forth the formula for determining attorney fees in a probate matter. If extraordinary services are provided, such as the case is complicated or involves novel issues, the probate court has the authority to increase the fees. However, in most cases the attorney fees are as follows:

  • 4% of the first $100,000 of the gross estate,
  • 3% of the next $100,000,
  • 2% of the next $800,000,
  • 1% of the next $9,000,000,
  • 1/2% percent of the next $15,000,000.

If the estate is larger than $25,000,000, the probate court will determine the fee for the amount in excess of $25,000,000. A personal representative is entitled to be paid the same amount as their lawyers. However, it is important for the personal representative to understand that the fees are typically treated as wages for income tax purposes. Thus, it is important to seek legal advice regarding how to avoid or minimize income taxes. Finally, it should be noted that the fees paid to the probate attorney and the personal representative are paid from the estate assets upon court approval at the close of probate. If you have questions regarding a California probate matter or the cost associated with it, please contact The Legacy Lawyers. If you have been appointed as a personal representative, you are responsible for completing several tasks, and there is little room for error. Don’t despair, however. We have helped hundreds of people in your situation. Just call to schedule your no-cost consultation: (714) 963-7543. We can minimize your stress, reduce exposure to personal liability and guide you through an orderly probate process. At The Legacy Lawyers we are dedicated to your peace of mind.