What does probate cost and how long does it take? I’m Michael Jenkins and as an estate planning attorney in San Diego, we answer this question almost every day.
Now we like to answer this question for our clients when they’re setting up a trust so that they understand what they’re protecting against and what they’re preventing their kids from having to go through. But unfortunately we have to answer this question for kids as we petition for probate for them as well. In terms of cost, California law sets the attorney fees for probate and it’s a percentage of the gross value of the estate – not the equity – but the gross value. So it’s 4% of the first $100,000, 3% of the next $100,000, 2% of the next $800,000 and so on and so forth. It quickly escalates to be a very large sum to go through a regular routine probate process.
It’s not just the probate attorney in San Diego fees either. The percentage fee is also the same for the executor or the administrator of the estate. Now if your kid is serving in that role, they can waive that fee and just inherit. But if it’s an independent party, they’re entitled to the same fees as the attorney and in addition to that, you also have court fees in probate, referee fees and filing fees and publishing fees. There’s no shortage of fees that are tagged to probate.
But it’s more than just money. It’s also time. In San Diego County right now, the average probate process takes anywhere between 18 months and 24 months to get through from start to finish, and that’s if nobody is fighting and we’re just going through their regular routine process. The moment somebody wants to step in and cause an argument that timeline just gets extended and extended.
So if you need a reason for why to set up a trust, this is probably the number one reason. Probate is very expensive and it takes a long time. Now if you have any questions about how much probate would cost based on your estate or how long it might take to get through and what steps you need to take to avoid that, always feel free to give us a call, send us an email, send us a text, we’re here and we’re always happy to answer questions.
Related post: 7 Estate Planning Mistakes That You Should Always Avoid