How Much Does Probate in California Cost?
May 31, 2016
The costs of California probate will vary from case to case, depending on the specific circumstances and possible challenges associated with a particular estate.
While you can get more specific answers about what to expect in terms of your probate costs by contacting one of our experienced Santa Clarita estate & probate attorneys, what we can tell you here is that the following factors tend to increase the costs of probate in California:
- The absence of any will or estate plan – Without any estate planning documents left behind, it’s far more likely that more of the decedent’s estate will need to pass through probate (rather than directly being transferred to the beneficiary via, for instance, a trust or payable-on-death designation). For these cases, the court will apply California intestacy laws to determine which surviving loved ones are to receive what aspects of the estate.
- Instead, avoid increasing your loved ones’ future probate costs by make sure you have a valid will and estate plan in place ASAP.
- Will contests – When wills are left behind but they may be open to some questions or challenges, will contests can again extend the duration of probate and, in turn, drive up the costs of the process. Although will contests can be raised in various situations, they tend to arise with holographic wills or when there may be multiple versions of an estate plan (and it’s not clear which is the most recent version).
- Instead, be sure to sign and date your will and estate plan, and consider including “no contest” clauses (which can stipulate that anyone who contests the will is subject to losing his or her inheritance if their challenge is shut down the court).
- Debt issues – If there are a number of creditors seeking repayment for outstanding debts from an estate, this aspect of probate can take longer (than it would had the estate been debt free); and, again, that can end up driving up the costs of the probate process.
- Instead, if you know that debt may be an issue for your estate, consider devising special trusts to protect the assets that you want to give to your loved ones.
- Not retaining an attorney to facilitate the process – Although hiring an attorney can come with some upfront costs, it’s an investment that can help you avoid costly probate mistakes – both before and during the process. In fact, given that the funds of an estate can be used to pay for attorneys’ probate fees, retaining a lawyer to help you navigate the process is one of the smartest things you can do to minimize your probate costs – and get the process as favorably and efficiently as possible.
- Instead, contact a trusted probate lawyer when it’s time to open up a probate case.
For exceptional representation in California probate, contact a trusted Santa Clarita estate & probate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman. For well over three decades, our respected team of legal professionals has been committed to providing people with personalized, highly responsive service, as well as superior representation for their important legal matters.
To find out more about how we can help you in probate (or with other legal matters), contact our firm today by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and the greater Los Angeles area.