Probate is a public proceeding— meaning anyone can examine your file, make a copy of your Will, and get a list of your family members and their addresses, their ages, and what they are receiving from your estate.
Its Time Consuming!
Probate also takes considerably longer to complete than a typical trust administration. Probate will usually delay distribution of estate assets and take anywhere from 9 to 24 months to complete.
The California Probate Code sets the maximum statutory fees that attorneys can charge for a probate. Higher fees can be ordered by a court for more complicated cases. The fees are four percent of the first $100,000 of the estate, three percent of the next $100,000, two percent of the next $800,000, one percent of the next $9,000,000, and one-half percent of the next $15,000,000.
The value of the estate is determined, in general, by the inventory for the estate. Debts are not included in determining attorney's fees, and if a house is appraised at $1,000,000, for example, and it has a mortgage of $800,000, it is still considered a $1,000,000 asset for the purpose of calculating attorney's fees.
For example, if a decedent had an estate worth $1,000,000, the probate fee would be $23,000! If both an attorney and an executor are permitted to receive a fee, the amount paid out of the estate would be doubled to $46,000! In probates that are complicated by lawsuits or tax problems, the attorney and executor can even ask the judge to approve fees that are higher than those set by state law.