"'I have an estate plan--I have my will, and that means my loved ones won’t have to go through a probate when I die.” This is a great misconception about wills. Maybe the greatest.
However, PROBATE essentially means to prove the will (see Etymology on Wikipedia).
Think about it, you might find a "form will" on the Internet for free, or pay an Internet site a low fee. This seemingly inexpensive price for the handling and organizing of your affairs, comes with its own cost--YOU have to complete the form, completely at your own risk.
In California, probate generally occurs when an estate has real and personal property with a combined value in excess of $100,000. For those owning real estate in the Desert, probate is a real threat (THINK ABOUT IT: when was the last time you bought a home in the Desert or anywhere else in California for less than $100,000).
So, while you may pay little or nothing now for that "cheap" will you procured, your estate may pay much more later, with overall costs related to the settling of a probate from 2% on up to 5 or 6%. And in some cases, there might be extraordinary fees raising the costs even higher. On an estate with a total value around one million dollars, the costs could be in the range between $20,000 to $50,000, depending on the circumstances and involvement of outsiders to administer the estate. All of a sudden free or cheap, doesn't seem so FREE or CHEAP.
This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, “When you try to get something for nothing, you might get NOTHING for something.”