How Much Does a Typical Probate or Conservatorship Cost in California?

The court may appoint a Conservator over an individual when they become mentally incapacitated or unable to perform activities of daily living (“ADLs”). 

In addition, your assets will have to go through the court system again (Probate) if you do not have a proper living trust. 

The costs for both of these Court proceedings are astronomical. 

Here is a very typical, not so expensive example of someone who hasn’t properly planned their estate to avoid both a Conservatorship and Probate. 

Want to avoid losing huge amounts of your estate money in probate and conservatorship fees? Sign up for a strategy session today.

COSTS OF CONSERVATORSHIPS

A usual plain vanilla no fight conservatorship court proceeding usually costs about $10,000 a year. That is, if there is no fighting in that conservatorship. In a typical example where one spouse is under a conservatorship for ½ year and the other has dementia and therefore needs a conservatorship for 3 years, you are looking at roughly $35,000. 

Now, what about probate fees?

Fees for Probate are calculated California law. These are called statutory fees. It all depends on how much money you die with. The more assets (value) that goes through Probate, the more you will pay in statutory fees. 

These statutory fees are usually doubled. The attorney is paid a full statutory fee and the person in charge of your Court proceeding (called an executor or administrator) gets another full statutory fee. That’s right! Double the statutory fee comes straight out of your pocket no matter how complicated your estate might be.

So, for instance, if you had a $700,000 GROSS estate when you pass away, your statutory fee is $17,000. The attorney gets $17,000 and the executor gets another $17,000. This is about  4.8% of your entire estate. 

This is the MINIMUM. 

There is another fee to worry about called Extraordinary Fees. These are fees that attorneys charge for work above and beyond the “statutory” minimum. This is usually billed hourly at the attorney’s agreed upon rate in your retainer agreement. 

Extraordinary fees are charged to YOUR estate when you need to sell the property or if there are disputes in the probate proceedings. There is a laundry list of different events that will result in you paying extraordinary fees. 

Usually, all probate fees are paid at the end of the Probate proceedings before you get your inheritance. 

Here are some examples of statutory fees in California for different scenarios (all depends on how much you die with — your gross estate value). These are fees for both the attorney and the executor or administrator. 

For $1 million dollars gross estate, you’re paying $34,000.

For $2 million dollars gross estate, you’re paying $66,000.

For $3 million dollars gross estate, you’re paying $86,000.

For $4 million dollars gross estate, you’re paying $106,000.

For $5 million dollars gross estate, you’re paying $126,000.

For $10 million dollars gross estate, you’re paying $226,000.

Want to avoid losing huge amounts of your estate money in probate and conservatorship fees? Sign up for a strategy session today.