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How much should a typical "850" petition cost?

Sacramento, CA |
Filed under: Successor trustee

My mother passed away with a living trust in place. She forgot to record the transfer deed to put the house into the trust. It seems it should be pretty straight forward since I am an only child and so was she. She never married after my dad or even dated anyone. I was the successor trustee. My 850 petition has cost almost $8,000. Does that seem to be typical? His paralegal told me at the begining that it would probably be around $2500. Thank you for any advice you have.

Attorney Answers 2


It may be that something unexpected came up during the proceedings. Possibly there were objections, or a probate examiner raised calendar notes that had to be addressed by a supplement. It would be impossible to tell without knowing all the facts.

Generally speaking, when there is a Heggstad order needed via a Section 850 petition, to complete a trust funding defect, we would do this as a straight-forward task that involved one petition, notice of hearing, one appearance, and preparation of an order. Legal fees would be roughly $3,500 at our office, and the filing fee is $340, plus copying costs.

I hope that helps you.

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As Mr. Stindt indicated, that sounds quite high unless something unforeseen occurred. These petitions are usually handled in one hearing before the Judge, and if everything is in order, they're preapproved.

I'd definitely require that your lawyer give you an itemized statement showing what s/he did that required so much time (even if his billing rate is $400/hr., that amounts to 20 hours of work. Unless the fees include other trust administration activities, it's difficult to see how the petition should take anything even close to 20 hours of work).

This information is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should accept legal advice only from a licensed legal professional with whom you have an attorney-client relationship.

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