Filing Fees & Methods of Payment

On August 17, 2003, California instituted a graduated fee for filing a probate case:

  • A minimum of $185, and
  • Gradually increasing to $3,500 for estates of up to $3.5 million, plus
  • 0.2 % of any amount in excess of $3.5 million.

The filing fee in California for a $100 million estate is now $3,500 + $193,000 = Almost $200,000. In Washington, it’s $230. That California law must be known as the California Estate Planners’ Living Trust Act.

The current (July 1, 2009) fee for filing a Will is $20, which is nonrefundable upon any subsequent filing of a Petition for Letters.  Consequently, if a Petition for Letters will likely be filed, the fee for filing a Will may be avoided by filing the Will together with the Petition for Letters.

The current (July 1, 2009) fee for filing a Petition for Letters Testamentary or of Administration is $230.

Of the six larger Puget Sound counties (King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom) as well as Benton/Franklin, Clark, Spokane, and Yakima, all will accept for payment of filing fees:

  • Cash,
  • Cashier’s check, or
  • Money order.

Of those counties, only King County will accept a personal check but it must be made:

  • By a party to the action (eg, you, as the Petitioner),
  • On a preprinted check form with your name imprinted on it, and
  • Drawn on a bank that does business in Washington.