Case Study: How to Use a Probate Calculator in California

When it comes time to administer an estate, understanding what you should expect to pay is important for beneficiaries and executors alike, which is when using a probate calculator in California is essential. California Probate Code Sections 10810 and 10811 guide the calculations as they create mandatory fees all probates estates must pay.

How else can executors know how much they should withhold to pay for administration to avoid costly litigation, and how else can beneficiaries know if an executor is overcharging them to pursue litigation?

We’ve provided a case study for how to use a calculator in our blog:

What is a Probate Calculator in California?

A probate calculator in California estimates the cost of probate administration, including attorney and executor fees. These fees are calculated by adding 4% of the first $100,000, 3% of the next $100,000, 2% of the next $800,000, 1% of the next nine million dollars, and half of 1% of the next fifteen million dollars.

Why Should You Use a Probate Calculator in California?

There are several reasons to use a probate calculator in California before and during this process that can avoid significant stress and damage to an estate. Calculating these fees is complex, and failure to calculate the cost can have significant consequences.

Remember that administration and attorney fees and taxes come out of the estate. What does this mean for executors and beneficiaries?

Failure to withhold enough money to pay these fees can result in a financial conundrum and lead to litigation if beneficiaries feel the executors mishandled or mismanaged assets. Beneficiaries can also benefit significantly from this.

“It is, unfortunately, common for executors to try to overcharge for estate administration, and for beneficiaries, understanding what is a reasonable amount to charge is important because situations like this can be grounds for removal in California probate court,” explained Abbas K. Gokal, a partner at Gokal Law Group and 20-year practicing attorney in probate matters in Orange County courts.

How to Use a Probate Calculator in California

A probate calculator in California is an invaluable tool. Here is how to use it. First, determine the value of the property that falls under the umbrella of probate administration. This kind of property generally includes the gross value of:

  • Owned real estate
  • Business interests
  • Bank accounts
  • Investments
  • Personal property


Remember that retirement accounts, life insurance, and assets within a living trust are usually not subject to probate administration, so do not include them in this calculation.

Then, input the gross value of this property into the probate calculator under the field “Enter Property Subject to Probate Administration,” and you will see the different tiers and percentages and what you can expect to pay during this process.

For example: Let’s imagine the total value is $400,000. The first level of up to $100,000 is subject to a 4% fee ($4,000), the second level of $100,000 to $200,000 is subject to a 3% fee ($3,000), and the third level of $200,000 to $1,000,000 is subject to a 2% fee ($4,000).

The total value does not exceed $1,000,000, so those levels are not relevant in this situation. The calculator will add the different fees ($4,000 + $3,000 +  $4,000), which comes out to a total cost of $11,000 to administer the estate.

If an executor is charging $25,000, for example, without a valid reason, this can be grounds to pursue litigation and have the executor removed.

Use the Premier Probate Calculator in California and Contact Us to Work With Unequaled Probate Lawyers

Using a probate calculator in California is more than just helpful, it is an essential precaution that executors and beneficiaries should take. For executors, failing to withhold the right amount can have severe legal consequences, and for beneficiaries, there is no other way to determine whether or not they are being overcharged and should pursue litigation to have an executor removed.

At Gokal Law Group, our team possesses unrivaled expertise and experience navigating probate courts. Use our probate calculator now to understand what you should reasonably expect to pay, and if necessary, call us at (949) 753-9100, or contact us to schedule a consultation to remove an executor with selfish intent.

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