Attorney’s fees for probate in California are set forth in the Probate Code Section 10810. The maximum fees that can be charged by the probate attorney are:
4% of the first $100,000 3% of the next $100,000 2% of the next $800,000 1% of the next $9 million.
The value of the estate for purposes of attorney’s fees is the gross value of the estate, so that if the decedent owned a home valued at the time of death at $500,000 with a $300,000 mortgage, the $500,000 figure is used.
An attorney may also request extraordinary fees based on Probate Code sections 10801-10811 which allows additional compensation for “extraordinary services” in an amount that the Court finds is just and reasonable. Some services that set forth in those sections are:
1. Sales of real or personal property.
2. Contested or litigated calims against the estate.
3. Defense of a will contest after a will is admitted to probate, even if the defense was not successful.
4. Defense of a will contest before the will is admitted to probate, however, in this case, the defense has to be successful in the sense that it benefitted the estate.
5. Preparation of income tax returns, estate tax returns, or other tax returns or the adjustment, litigation, or payment of any of such taxes.
6. Litigation involving estate property.
7. Continuing on the decedent’s business if ordered by the Court.
8. Other litigation or special services that are necessary to prosecute, defend, or assist the executor or administrator in the performance of his duties.
9. Filing an accounting for the administration of the estate when such an accounting is required.
Most people would rather see their heirs receive their inheritances in the most cost-effective way possible. Although a living trust costs a bit more to create initially, in most cases, after death, the administration of the trust and distribution to the beneficiaries is much less expensive than what probate fees would be. Call us if you are interested in a revocable living trust package which includes a trust, will, power of attorney, advance health care directive, certificate of trust, assignments, and deeding your real property into your trust. Internet clients receive a 25% discount.