Under California Probate Code §10810, the attorney and personal representative (also known as the Executor or Administrator) shall each receive compensation based on the GROSS value of the estate accounted for by the personal representative. Assets subject to probate administration generally include the total gross value of real property, business interests, investments, personal property, litigation interests, and financial accounts without designated beneficiaries.
Assets held in trusts, life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts, and financial accounts with designated pay-on-death beneficiaries are not generally subject to probate administration.
The code sets a statutory fee for the usual and customary probate administration services. The fee schedule is:
(1) Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
(2) Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
(3) Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000).
(4) One percent on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000).
(5) One-half of one percent on the next fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000).
(6) For all amounts above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), a reasonable amount to be determined by the court.
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The Probate Fee Calculator below calculates the estimated probate attorney’s fees and executor/administrator’s commissions for the administration of estates valued over $150,000, but less than $25,000,000. For estates over $25,000,000, the court will determine a “reasonable” fee.
Keep in mind, an attorney may request additional fees for “extraordinary services,” including but not limited to, litigation, assisting with the sale of real property, and the preparation or review of an estate tax return. For these extraordinary services, the attorney will typically be paid their customary hourly rate at the discretion of the judge. Click here for the California Court Rule7.703 Extraordinary Compensation.