Wow! It’s So Much Less Expensive to Settle a Trust than to go through Probate in California
A fully funded trust, with no issues and no formal accounting, can be settled for less than $1,000 in attorney fees when you die. That’s a huge contrast to the attorney fees to go through probate in California.
Here’s the attorney fee chart for probate in California. If the executor charges a fee, the fees are doubled.
- 4% on the first $100k
- 3% on the second $100k
- 2% on the next $200k to $1M
- 1 % over $1M
This is what it means in real dollars (Double these numbers to include executor fees).
- $100,000 probate estate has attorney fees of at least $4,000.
- $400,000 probate estate has attorney fees of at least $11,000.
- $800,000 probate estate has attorney fees of at least $19,000.
- $1,500,000 probate estate has attorney fees of at least $28,000.
In addition, there are “extraordinary” hourly fees for selling real estate, recovering property from third parties, litigation, or preparing tax returns and other services.
Court fees and publication on an estate without complications will usually run close to $1,500 and the probate referee is .01% for all non-cash items such as real estate, stocks. For example, a $500,000 house costs $500 for the probate referee’s appraisal. If the estate has “issues” (i.e. the beneficiaries fight) every petition filed requires an additional $435 filing fee (look for the filing fee to be raised in the near future).
Settling a funded trust will vary depending on whether or not beneficiaries waive the formal accounting and if there are any “problems.” A really “clean” funded trust, will settle for less than $1,000.
Avoiding probate with a fully funded revocable living trust saves on attorney and executor fees in California. If you would like to determine whether both avoiding probate and trust-based planning is right for you, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney. Feel free to call our office at (858) 792-5988 for a consultation.