If you have been tasked with taking a California estate to probate, you may be wondering how much the whole process will cost. However, there is no simple answer. The costs of navigating probate are, in most cases, dependent on the value and complexity of the estate. 

California Probate Lawyer Kavesh Minor & Otis

The Costs of California Probate

Small California estates, worth $150,000 or less, can often be settled outside of formal probate using simple legal procedures.

Larger estates, however, will likely be subjected to formal probate. You can expect to pay certain, set fees. For example, you will have to pay the court $435.00 to initiate probate proceedings. You may also have to pay for:

  • An estate appraisal
  • An accountant or accounting firm
  • Miscellaneous court fees, including payments for the publication of probate notices, the hiring of a probate referee, and certified copies of court documents

The Estate Representative’s Share

The estate’s representative is often entitled to take a share of the estate’s total value. California has a list of statutory fees for estate representatives, which varies based on that value.

For example:

  • If an estate is worth $100,000, the personal representative may take 4% of the first $100,000, plus a statutory fee of $4,000
  • If an estate is worth $200,000, a personal representative may take 3% of the next $100,000, plus a statutory fee of $7,000

California has more fee calculations for almost every estate with a value up to $20 million. If the estate is worth more than $25 million, the court will determine the personal representative’s fees.

An Attorney’s Role in Probate Administration

If you do not already have a probate attorney, it’s important to contact one if you are trying to settle a California estate. A probate attorney can help personal representatives set their fees and recoup any losses or expenses made through probate administration. Beyond that, a probate lawyer will also know how to close out an estate and can even do the hard work of inventorying assets, filing court paperwork, and settling the estate’s debts.

Do You Need Legal Help Regarding Probate Issues In California?

If a loved one died without a will and you need legal assistance regarding the probate process you should be speak with an experienced probate attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 800.756.5596 to claim your space at one of our free, informative seminars. Your attendance will qualify you for a discount for our probate services. We proudly serve clients throughout California with offices in Torrance, Newport Beach, Orange, Woodland Hills and Pasadena.


Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.