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The costs of probate can be substantial and represent significant wealth loss to your heirs.  The following is the California Probate Code section specifying probate fees and an example of the amount of probate fees due on a $1,500,000 – sized estate.

CALIFORNIA PROBATE CODE #10810: Statutory Fees for Services (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 next 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), a reasonable amount to be determined by the court. (b) For the purposes of this section, the value of the estate accounted for by the personal representative is the total amount of the appraisal of property in the inventory, plus gains over the appraisal value on sales, plus receipts, less losses from the appraisal value on sales, without reference to encumbrances or other obligations on estate property.

(NOTE:  Fees are calculated on the gross estate – i.e., without offset for debts.  Gross estate includes any retirement accounts and life insurance payable to the estate.)

4% of the first $100,000                      $  4,000

3% of the next $100,000                     $  3,000

2% of the next $800,000                     $16,000

1% of the next $500,000                     $  5,000

ATTORNEY’S PROBATE FEES                  $28,000

EXECUTOR’S PROBATE FEES                 $28,000

TOTAL PROBATE FEES                    $56,000

These fees do not include court costs and other probate administration costs.  The total probate expenses (i.e., fees and costs) could represent a significant loss of wealth to your heirs.