Probate Fees

How much are the Probate Fees Paid to the Attorney and the Executor?

California law sets limits on the amounts that the attorney and the executor may be paid for handling the ordinary work in a probate estate. This fee is called a "statutory fee."

The fee is computed as follows as required by Probate Code Section 10810:

Value of Estate Percentage
First $100,000 4 percent
Next $100,000 3 percent
Next $800,000 2 percent
Next $9 million 1 percent
Next $15 million 1/2 of 1 percent
Above $25 million a reasonable amount to be determined
by the Court

Example: Suppose that the total value of the probate estate is $500,000. To calculate the statutory fee, take 4 percent of the first $100,000 ($4,000), then take 3 percent of the next $100,000 ($3,000), then take 2 percent of the final $300,000 ($6,000). The total statutory fee is $13,000 ($4,000 + $3,000 + $6,000).

The attorney and the executor of the estate are entitled to a statutory fee in the same amount. Thus, in the example above, the attorney and the executor would each be entitled to a fee of $13,000.

Some executors, particularly those who are family members, waive their right to take a fee.

Total attorney's fees and executor's fees can be higher than the statutory maximum if the Court also orders payment of an extraordinary fee. Extraordinary fees are awarded for such work as completing federal estate tax returns, for handling estate litigation and for handling very complicated or time-consuming problems of an estate.