California Probate Court Proceedings have established the Costs?
How much does probate cost?
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Probate Costs in the court-supervised process to distribute your assets.
Probate Fee Calculator: Probate is the court-supervised process to distribute your assets to the next generation. Moreover, clients like to avoid probate for three main reasons:
Slow: (average time is 2-years);
Public: (think of all the celebrity estates you’ve heard about in the news);
Expensive: Indeed, compared to what it costs to avoid probate by completing an estate plan.
Probate often costs 10x more than estate planning.
Notwithstanding, a common misconception is that the government gets the money from probate – but that’s not entirely true. Ordinarily, the attorney helps the family through probate and is entitled to the fees. Accordingly, there are significant costs in addition to the attorney’s fees shown here – such as newspaper filings, court filing fees, court-appointed appraiser fees, and more!
After a person dies, their assets ideally pay for the funeral costs and satisfy creditors. What remains goes to the heirs and beneficiaries of the person’s will. This all happens through probate, a legal process overseen by a court in the deceased’s county of residence. Nonetheless, the process begins when the executor, someone previously appointed by the deceased and named in the will, deposits the person’s will with the probate court. Consequently, the associated expenses vary with the size and complexity of the Estate. As outlined below, the expected and possibly unexpected costs can quickly add up.
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Don’t miss the fact that the probate court doesn’t care about the ‘encumbrances’ – that means if the house is worth $900,000, the probate fees will be $21,000, plus costs disregarding any fact that the house has a mortgage against it in the amount of $830,000.
Here is the actual code spelling out the costs:
California Probate Code10810: (a) Subject to the provisions of this part, for ordinary services, the attorney for the personal representative shall receive compensation based on the value of the Estate accounted for by the personal representative, as follows:
(1) Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
(2) Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
(3) Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000).
(4) One percent on the following nine million dollars ($9,000,000).
(5) One-half of 1 percent on the next fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000).
(6) For all amounts above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), the court must determine a reasonable amount.
(b) For this section, the value of the Estate accounted for by the personal representative is the total amount of the appraisal of the property in the inventory, plus gains over the appraisal value on sales, plus receipts, fewer losses from the appraisal value on sales, without reference to encumbrances or other obligations on the estate property.
See how much your Estate would cost in probate, and then contact us to help you avoid it and put all your affairs in order with an estate plan! Consult the probate court or state law to learn the threshold value of an estate that must enter probate. Small estates may be exempt or qualify for a streamlined, low-cost process. If you need assistance with your Estate and the California Probate Process, call Steve Bliss for a free consultation.
Especially if your heirs are children, you can save the costs of having a conservator oversee their finances by setting up a living trust. While you’re alive, you can transfer the bulk of your assets to a trust account that bypasses probate when you die. Your designated successor trustee, who oversees the account upon your death, distributes assets to your named beneficiaries. Keep a significant part of your wealth in retirement accounts, so it passes directly to the named beneficiary upon your death. Be sure to update your named beneficiaries when you experience fundamental life changes, such as divorce. Especially in large, complex estates, probate costs can run high. Managing costs takes some advanced planning.