The high costs involved are one of the most compelling reasons to Avoid Probate.

The first part in our series, Reasons to Avoid Probate, deals with the extremely High Cost of Probate.

We estimate that you can spend up to 3-5% of the Gross Value of the Estate in Probate fees and costs.

How is this possible?

California Probate Code Section 10810 sets the Statutory Fee for probating estates in California.  This is the same fee schedule that applies in all 58 counties of California.

Let’s examine the Statutory Fee as it applies to a $1,000,000 Estate.

First $100,000

Four (4%) Percent


Next $100,000

Three (4%) Percent


Next $800,000

Two (4%) Percent


Therefore, the Statutory Fee on a $1 Million Estate is $23,000.

Keep in mind, this is the Fee that is paid to the Attorney for the Personal Representative of the Estate.

The Personal Representative is also entitled to the exact same fee, unless the Will requires them to serve without compensation.

Therefore, a $1 Million estate could cost up to $46,000 (!), and that’s not counting the miscellaneous filing fees, appraisal fees and other costs.

That’s 4.6% of the Gross Value of the Estate that is eaten up in Fees and Costs!

Lastly, bear in mind this Statutory Fee is based on the Gross Value of the Estate, undiminished by mortgages, encumbrances or other obligations of the Estate.

One lady who called our office said her dad had left her a house worth $300,000, but which had a $300,000 reverse mortgage.

For her, the Probate Fee could be $9,000 – even if she receives NOTHING from the Estate.

Reason enough to Avoid Probate.

John Erik Fraker, Esq.

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John Erik Fraker, Esq.

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