The filing fee paid to the California Superior Court to open a probate and file a petition for probate has been changed for 2008. The initial filing fee is now $320.00 for California probate matters.
Until very recently, the Los Angeles Superior Court website and no other website provided any notice of the change. I’ve learned that some California probate lawyers were surprised.
The filing fee is based on the inventory value of the estate. The filing fee used to be calculated on the estimated value of the inventory and was paid at the time the petition for probate was filed. The filing fee schedule is set by Section 70650 of the California Government Code.
The fee structure that was replaced used to provide that when a probate case was opened:
The fee was $320.00 for estates or trusts under $250,000;
the fee was $385.00 for estates or trusts of at least $250,000 and less $500,000;
the fee was $485.00 for estates or trusts of at least $500,000 and less than $750,000;
the fee was $635.00 for estates or trusts of at least $750,000 and less $1,000,000;
Now, the fee to file a petition for probate is $320.00 and when the estate closes the estate then pays the applicable filing fee amount based on the actual final inventory prepared during the probate.
So if the estate’s inventoried value is $751,000, the total filing fee is $635.00 and since $320.00 has been paid when the petition was initially filed with the court, the estate will pay directly to the probate court an additional $315.00 before the court will order the estate closed.
Those who file the petition for probate no longer have to advance large sums of money as used to be the case. Now, only $320 is required and later when money is available because the estate is to be closed, any unpaid filing fee will be due from the estate.