Probate Basics

Probate is a legal proceeding in which a state court oversees the process of identifying a deceased person’s heirs, property, and valid debts. The goal is to see that a decedent’s valid debts are paid and to distribute the remaining estate assets to the proper heirs. The process of actually identifying a decedent’s heirs, property, and valid debts is done by the executor or administrator (also known as the personal representative) of the estate. If the decedent left a will, the court normally appoints the person named as executor in the will as the executor. If there is no will, the court will usually appoint a relative or friend of the decedent to act as administrator. The personal representative, usually working in conjunction with a probate attorney, will have the task of sorting out the estate.

Probate Statutory Fees

Probate fees (e.g., attorney’s fees and executor’s fees) are set by California’s Probate Code §10810.  The statutory fees prescribed by §10810 are based on the value of the estate, as determined during the probate process. The value of the estate is generally determined by the inventory conducted by the estate’s executor, and sometimes with the assistance of appraisers designated by the court. 

Estate Size

California Statutory Probate Attorneys’ Fees

$ 100,000

$ 4,000

$ 200,000

$ 7,000

$ 300,000

$ 9,000

$ 400,000

$ 11,000

$ 500,000

$ 13,000

$ 600,000

$ 15,000

$ 700,000

$ 17,000

$ 800,000

$ 19,000

$ 900,000

$ 21,000

$ 1 Million

$ 23,000

$ 2 Million

$ 33,000

$ 3 Million

$ 43,000