Cost: This is the number one reason to avoid a probate. In California, attorneys and executors are paid a statutory fee that is a percentage of the gross estate as follows:
4% of the first $100,000
3% of the next $100,000
2% of the next $800,000
1% of the next $9,000,000
½% on the next $15,000,000
These fees are calculated on the gross estate, meaning that if a decedent died with an estate consisting of only a house worth $1 million that had debt of $800,000 on it, and nothing else, attorneys’ fees would be based on a $1 million estate (or $23,000 total) and not based on the $200,000 net value of the estate.
Privacy: Everything done through a probate is public record (asset values, beneficiaries, copy of your will, etc.). Anyone willing to put in the time down at the courthouse could look through the probate file. This is not true of a trust administration.
Timing: Typically the probate process, from start to finish, will take a minimum of six months, but typically takes much longer, while a trust administration generally takes much less time.