The number one reason why beneficiaries and administrators take the ill-advised step of attempting probate on their own is fear over the cost of retaining a probate attorney (despite the fact that in many cases, a good probate attorney will subsidize their own cost by knowing where and when to avoid taxes and fees).
What most people don't know, however, is this: the amount that probate lawyers cost is set forth by the California Probate Code (§§ 10810, 10811). That's right - your attorney does not set their retainer fee for probate services, the state of California does.
What's more, probate attorneys are not paid up-front. In all cases in California, probate attorneys collect their fees as a percentage of the estate once the distribution stage is reached. This means that at no time do you have to pay out-of-pocket for a probate attorney to help you settle the affairs of the deceased. If more people knew this, a lot of headaches involving probate court would be avoided altogether!
Here's what the statutory fee table looks like to hire a probate attorney in California. Remember, these percentages are taken only after final distribution begins to occur!
Click image to enlarge.
-- Michael Avanesian Note: Attorney advertising. Nothing posted on this blog is intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. Blog postings and hosted comments are available for general educational purposes only and should not be used to assess a specific legal situation. Nor does any comment on a blog post create an attorney-client relationship. The presence of hyperlinks to other third-party websites does not imply that the firm endorses those websites, their contents, or the activities or views of their owners.