Executor of estate is a fancy title that comes with a lot of responsibility. As executor, you are responsible for administering your loved one’s estate and carrying out the provisions outlined in their will after they have died. Because these processes are long and cumbersome, they also come with financial compensation. In fact, many people don’t realize that some probate fees directly benefit the executor of estate! While the court has the power to determine executors’ fees, the individual may petition the court to increase or reduce them.
California Probate Executor Fees
Oftentimes, decedents include a provision in their will outlining the fees their personal representatives (executors) should collect for administering their estate. However, executors may petition the court to receive more than the amount listed. Likewise, some personal representatives choose to petition for relief from the provision ordering their compensation.
On the other hand, when the decedent has failed to identify their wishes for executors’ compensation, the court determines the fees. Believe it or not, executor fees determined by the court in California probate are identical to statutory attorneys’ fees. More specifically, California Probate Code Section 10800 outlines the following fees for personal representatives:
– 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
– 1/2% on the next $15,000,000
Additionally, like attorneys’ fees, the personal representative may also petition the court for compensation based on extraordinary services. Further, if the estate has two or more personal representatives, these fees will be distributed evenly amongst them.
Executors’ Fees + Attorneys’ Fees = Double the Cost!
While executors and attorneys both work hard during the probate process, the fees for these two individuals drives up the cost of probate exponentially! In fact, while statutory attorneys’ fees and executors’ fees are identical, that does not mean the court chooses one or other. Instead, an estate handled by a personal representative AND an attorney means DOUBLE the cost!
For example, take an estate worth $1.2 million with a probate attorney and personal representative, both collecting statutory fees from the court. The estate’s loss would look like this:
4% on the first $100,000 = $4,000 X 2 = $8,000
3% on the next $100,000 = $3,000 X 2 = $6,000
2% on the next $800,000 = $16,000 X 2 = $32,000
1% on the next $9,000,000 = $2,000 X 2 = $4,000
$8,000 + 6,000 + 32,000 + 4,000 =
$50,000 in attorney and executor fees
Avoid Attorneys’ and Executors’ Fees on Simple Estates
Every estate needs an executor; however, not every estate requires a probate lawyer. In fact, personal representatives of simple, uncontested estates often choose to work with a legal document assistant instead of a lawyer. Believe it or not, this one choice can save the estate thousands of dollars, cutting the cost of fees by nearly half!
Further, some personal representatives are close family members or good friends of the decedent and/or beneficiaries. These relationships can make it difficult for executors to accept compensation for administering the estate, especially if it is relatively small. Thus, many executors petition to exempt themselves from receiving compensation to keep more money in the estate. This ensures beneficiaries receive as much of the estate’s assets as possible.
If you are an executor of estate in need of assistance with probate paperwork in California, contact A People’s Choice before hiring an attorney. Our office offers hands-on assistance with completing and filing the legal documents required for probate. Plus, we offer tailored services to address your specific needs for a low, flat fee. Call us today at 1-800-747-2780 to learn more about how we can help.
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