Cost of Probate in California
Small California estates with assets worth $150,000 or less may be settled without formal probate proceedings, using relatively simple transfer procedures. However, if the gross estate exceeds this amount and it contains assets which must pass through probate, the estate can expect to incur substantial expenses.
Probate assets are anything owned by a deceased person that has no way of passing to a living beneficiary without a court-supervised probate process. It is possible for some assets to escape probate if they pass to the heirs by way of contract, law, or trust. For everything else, the probate process is required to determine the distribution of assets.
It is important to note that having a will alone does not avoid probate as it must still be administered by the courts through probate in order to be validated.