The question everyone wants to know, and some are afraid to ask, is this: how much do you charge?
My goal is to reach as many families in Kern County as possible to get them out of probate and avoid the costly and time consuming experience of court. When my probate clients find out how long it takes and how much the fees are, they all wish a trust was in place. (Simple example: You have a house worth $200,000 and that’s it. Attorney fees are $7,000 for that (at the end), filing fees are $435, another $435 for the final petition to close, a required notice in the newspaper is at least a couple of hundred dollars, and the probate referee has a fee for appraising the house. That is a cost of roughly $8000+…and if the executor takes the fee he/she is entitled to, that’s another $7000 gone. Very pricey AND time consuming compared to executing a revocable living trust.
Currently, my Estate Planning fees are as follows:
Trust Administration: $250 per hour
Deed Preparation: $300 (does not include recording fees or notary)
Will Plan (includes all related health forms, durable power of attorney): $1250-1500
Revocable Living Trust Plan (single): $1600*
Revocable Living Trust Plan (married): $2000*
*Fees will increase if your plan requires additional schedules, or highly customized and detailed language. This is not a common occurrence, but sometimes happens and is within client’s control. Also, a deed preparation fee will apply if there is more than one real property.
Special Needs Trusts start at $3000, as do other irrevocable trusts.
For some probate matters, the statutory fee will be applied and come from the estate when it is settled. For other probate matters, I will estimate the time and bill on a flat fee basis if desired. Generally speaking, for a Small Estate Affidavit, I charge between $800-1200 depending on the circumstances. A Petition to Determine Succession costs more, as there is more paperwork and a court appearance I make on your behalf, and generally runs between $2500-3500, depending on circumstances. For a full probate (no litigation), I charge the statutory fee for my services. Generally, I make all court appearances on your behalf (you don’t have to show up) and do all that I can to make it as easy as possible for my clients.
Limited Conservatorships require a $3000 retainer, plus filing fees. This service is for those who need to establish a conservatorship for persons who have been mentally disabled since before the age of 18 and cannot consent to a durable power of attorney or advanced healthcare directive.