What Will It Cost If I Don’t Have a Will?
In California, the court system will assess a fee against your estate if you die without a will. These are not estate taxes and they can’t be avoided unless you have a will. If you have a will, then most of your assets won’t have to pass through the court system and you won’t be charged much, if anything at all.
For example, if you have $125,000 in assets (including your 401k retirement account), $175,000 in equity in your house, and $50,000 worth of cars, jewelry, and household contents, then your total estate is worth $350,000.
Based on the fee schedule below you will be charged as follows:
• 4% of the first $100,000 = $4,000
• 3% of the next $100,000 = $3,000
• 2% of the next $800,000 = $3,000
The state of California will deduct $10,000 from your estate for probate fees. With the cost of an estate attorney running at a fraction of that cost, there’s no reason to delay seeing an estate attorney.