In California, the general rule is:
At your death, your estate will be subject to Probate. Probate is the mandatory court proceeding to organize and finalize all of your legal and financial matters. Probate is time consuming, and expensive. If your estate is between $100,000 and $1,000,000, Probate may take over 18 months and the fees would approximately range from $8,000 to over $48,000. If your estate is larger than $1,000,000, the time may be longer than three years and cost over $42,000. You can minimize costs and delays, and avoid Probate and court interference with the use of a Revocable Living Trust!