PROBATE ADMINISTRATION (“PROBATE”)
Where a person dies leaving a will, or dies without a will or trust, or without having designated beneficiaries to take certain assets on his or her death under a legal “will substitute” (such as a beneficiary designated under an insurance policy, IRA, retirement account, or pay-on-death bank or other financial account), his or her assets may be subject to a court–supervised administration (commonly called a “probate”). As a general rule a probate will be required if the decedent owned a home or other real property which was never transferred into a trust, or owned other financial assets worth in excess of $150,000.
Here, we can assist the executor or other personal representative of such decedent’s estate “get through” the probate process. Our ultimate goal here is to receive a final order from the probate court providing what beneficiaries are to receive the assets subject to the probate. In this connection we will prepare and file with the court all documents required to accomplish this goal.
Here is how the “statutory fee” for each of the executor of the estate and the attorney for the executor is calculated (as quoted from California Probate Code Section 10810):
(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 1 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.
These statutory fees are payable at the conclusion of the probate. The probate process–which usually takes about a year to complete–is not a single routine affair. During the probate period the court requires the preparation, submittal, and its approval of a myriad of legal documents–all required to be drafted and filed in strict adherence to the court’s rules and timelines.
In addition, a probate court may authorize an executor or attorney to receive additional fees for the rendering of “extraordinary services” to the estate, such as selling a home through a “court supervised” sale as part of the probate administration.