Jun 02, 2023
Trustee Compensation in California: A Full Guide
How much should a trustee be paid in California? Get answers in our comprehensive guide.
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In California, Probate Attorney fees and Executor commissions are determined by California Probate Code §10800 & 10810 and are based on the gross value of the estate.
As of 2023, the statutory attorney and executor probate fees in California are as follows:
When considering the estate value, the California court does not factor in the debts of the estate - rather the gross value of the probate eligible assets.
Important to note:
The attorney and executor are both entitled to receive exactly the same fee structure for their services in the estate settlement process.
How much in probate fees will the estate pay for an estate with a gross value of $1,500,000?
For an estate with a gross value of $1,500,000:
|Value Of Estate||Compensation||Probate Fee||Remaining Value Of Estate|
An estate with a gross value of $1,500,000 will pay a statutory probate fee to both the administrator and attorney totaling $28,000 each.
Total: $28,000(lawyer) + $28,000(executor) = $56,000 in total statutory fees.
To make this calculation easier, we've created a probate fee calculator to help you calculate the statutory probate fees with ease.
California has one of the highest probate fees in the country.
On top of the statutory probate fees, the administrator, trustee, or executor must be aware of the other costs associated with probate such as: Probate referee fees, and court admin fees just to name a few. - let us take a look into the other costs involved in probate:
According to code: GC 70650(a) To file for a petition of letters of administration or testamentary - the initial cost is $435.
Executors also have to cover a final distribution fee, according to code: GC 70650(c) - the final distribution fee is $435
Other common California probate fees:
|Petition (or opposition to petition) after issuance of special letters of administration or letters testamentary or of administration in decedents’ estates that are not subject to the $435 fee in GC 70658(a)||GC 70657.5(a)(2)||$200|
|Search for estate documents, for each search longer than 10 minutes||GC 70661||$15|
|Delivery of will to the court in which the estate may be administered (Prob.C 8200)||GC 70626(d)||$50|
The estate may be subject to more court fees, so it is best to check the California court probate fees page: here
According to California probate code §10811 - the court may allow for additional compensation if they deem the attorney has provided extraordinary services and charged at a reasonable rate.
The court may allow an attorney to be compensated for extraordinary services performed by a paralegal. These services must be supervised by the attorney.
The petition for compensation must list the hours spent and the services performed by the paralegal.
Extraordinary service fees are usually charged on a contingent basis and costs are pre-determined by the attorney.
Extraordinary services are subject to the following conditions:
As you can see: probate can cost the estate thousands of dollars - wanting to avoid the probate fee is understandable…after all - California has one of the highest probate fees in the country.
Unfortunately, most estates do have to go through probate, thus paying the probate fee.
However, crafty planners can save their loved ones thousands of dollars by planning ahead, creating a trust, and using transfer on death deeds, just to name a few strategies.
Technically, in California, you can probate a will without a lawyer.
Choosing not to hire a professional to save some money can actually end up costing you more money and even more time. Doing probate yourself is not recommended.
It's better to have a professional by your side who knows the ropes and can help you avoid making costly mistakes - especially since you're already going through the loss of a loved one.
Probate can be a complicated process, and if you're not familiar with the ins and outs, you could easily make mistakes that end up costing you more money and time in the long run.
A good probate lawyer will help ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, saving you both money and headaches down the road.
In California, statutory probate fees are based on the gross value of the estate and are as follows: 4% on the first $100,000; 3% on the next $100,000; 2% on the next $800,000; 1% on the next $9,000,000; 0.5% on the next $15,000,000.
For all amounts above $25 million dollars, a reasonable compensation amount will be determined by the court.
It is important to note that when considering estate value for probate fees purposes in California only eligible assets are taken into account and not debts of the estate.
On top of statutory probate fees there are also other associated costs with probate such as Probate referee fees and court administration fees which can add up quickly.
In some cases where an attorney provides extraordinary services to an Estate beyond what is typically expected they may be entitled to additional compensation as approved by a judge following a hearing.
Most estates in California will have to go through some form of probate meaning they will incur these various types of associated costs but there are ways to avoid this process altogether if properly planned ahead.
If you need help understanding how statutory probate fees, court filing fees, or extraordinary attorney services in California work and what might be owed to you as the estate executor or beneficiary, please do not hesitate to book a meeting with us for a free, no obligation call where we are able guide you and answer any questions you might have about probate.
We are here to help make this process as smooth and stress-free for you as possible.
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