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Probates In California

What Are The Steps of Probate?

A probate case starts when a Petition for Probate is filed with the proper court. A hearing date is set. The petitioner must give notice of the hearing to anyone who may have an interest in the estate. The notice must also be published in an adjudicated newspaper.

At the hearing the judge decides who to appoint as the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative is issued "Letters" by the court. The personal representative must gather assets, arrange a court  appraisal, and notify and pay creditors.

A Final Report and Accounting is filed with the court after the personal representative has completed all probate duties. Another hearing date is set. If a judge is satisfied with the actions of the personal representative an order will be issued to distribute the assets from the estate.

How Long Does Probate Take?

In California most probate cases take about a year or a little longer. Every county court has different timelines. Please call me if you'd like further information about a specific county court.

What Is The Cost of Probate?



Most routine probates include attorney fees and court costs. Attorney fees vary depending on attorney and the complexity of the case. Court costs for a routine probate are about $2,000 for the entire probate.


​I charge a flat attorney fee - NOT a percentage of the estate.*  My fee starts at $7,000 for simple probate cases. It is set at the beginning of the probate and does not change based on the value of the estate. The fee is not due until the end of the probate case, and is paid out of the estate's assets.


​​Since I focus on probates, I don't need to "start over" with each probate. I use technology to prepare documents and manage cases. My legal practice is virtual which means we communicate via telephone calls and emails - it saves your time and mine.


*Many California probate attorneys charge the statutory rate based on the value of the estate:

  • 4% on the first $100,000

  • 3% on the next $100,000

  • 2% on the next $800,000 

  • 1% on the next $9,000,000

For example, if the only asset in the estate is a $600,000 home, the probate attorney fees are $15,000.

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