Law Office


Probate Costs

When a person dies testate (with a Will) or intestate (without a Will) their assets go through probate wherein the estate is administered.  In this process, a manager (administrator or executor) for the estate is approved by the probate court; an appraisal of estate assets will be ordered;  notice is required to be given to all legally entitled persons;  and ultimately the estate debts are paid and distributions made.

In San Diego County the probate process can take as long as 2 years, or longer if the process is complicated or involves contests.  Probate costs include executor and attorney fees, as well as filing fees.  The 2014 cost to file a probate in San Diego County is $435.00, plus appraisal fees.

In California, the personal representative of the estate (executor or administrator) and the attorney representing the personal representative are each entitled to the statutory fees set forth in Probate Code section 10810, summarily illustrated below.


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

1/2% on the next $15,000,000

Gross Value of EstateExecutor Fees*Attorney Fees*

*Probate Code section 10811 allows the probate court to award reasonable fees for extraordinary services performed by either the executor or attorney.

The Law Office of Will M. Smith assists clients with estate planning, wills, trusts, estate administration, trust administration, probate, and probate litigation needs throughout the greater North County San Diego area including San Diego County, Riverside County, and Orange County.  Will Smith assists clients in the cities of Escondido, Valley Center, San Marcos, Rancho Bernardo, and Poway. Other cities include Vista, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Temecula, and Murrieta.