We also do estate planning. For many in California it is cheaper to get a living trust done, then the standard cost of probating an estate after you die simply because you own a home. Although we are willing to charge hourly on a sliding scale, most probate attorney's charge based upon the probate statutes, which allow a percentage of the gross estate amount. A person owning a $500,000 home, would likely pay about $12,000 just in attorney's fees. The administrator of the estate could also ask for about $10,000. Eating significantly into the assets that you are leaving your family. Due to this, for those that own property in California, I recommend that they have a living trust.
Here is an article from an estate attorney in Colorado discussing the importance of choosing the right administrator of your estate.