Filing fees for probate first filings for the last eight months of 2008 were $320.00. As of January 1, 2009, those probate filing fees were raised to $350.00.
Prior to March 28, 2008, the initial filing fee paid at the time of filing a Petition for Probate was based on the estimated value of the estate. If the value of the estate was overestimated and a higher probate filing fee was paid at the time the Petition for Probate was filed, the estate would receive a refund at the end of the probate when the value of the estate was definitely determined.
If the value of the estate was underestimated causing a lesser probate filing fee being paid at the time the Petition for Probate was filed, the estate would owe the difference to the court. This method of calculating the probate filing fee was referred to as a graduated filing fee and was only utilized in probate cases.
On March 28, 2008 the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal invalidated the graduated filing fees in probate cases finding them against the California Constitution as an estate or inheritance taxation. Henceforth, probate filing fees were to be the standard unlimited civil filing fee.
The pre-March 2008 filing fee was based on the inventory value of the estate. The old graduated filing fee was calculated as follows:
The fee was $320.00 for estates or trusts under $250,000;
$385.00 for estates or trusts of at least $250,000 and less $500,000;
$485.00 for estates or trusts of at least $500,000 and less than $750,000;
$635.00 for estates or trusts of at least $750,000 and less $1,000,000;
And so on.