Attorney’s Fees and Personal Representative’s Fees in California Probate Matters

California statute (Cal. Probate Code § 10810 and 10811) sets the attorney’s fee for attorneys handling a probate administration in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California. You will not be paying the fee; the fee is taken from the estate before the property is distributed to those who inherit. It is structured as a percentage of the property passing through probate, as follows:

4% of the first $100,000 of the gross value of probate estate;

3% of the next $100,000;

2%of the next $800,000;

1% of the next $9,000,000;

5% of the next $15,000,000; and

A “reasonable amount” (as determined by the court) for everything above $25,000,000.

Practically speaking, that means the following:

A $250,000 estate pays $8,000 in attorney’s fees;

A $300,000 estate pays $9,000;

A $400,000 estate pays $11,000;

A $500,000 estate pays $13,000;

A $600,000 estate pays $15,000;

A $700,000 estate pays $17,000;

A $800,000 estate pays $19,000;

A $900,000 estate pays $21,000;

A $1,000,000 estate pays $23,000;

A $1,500,000 estate pays $28,000;

A $2,000,000 estate pays $33,000; and

So on the following formula.

The personal representative of the estate can collect the same fee (called the estate representative’s commission) if he or she wants. In practice, the personal representative often waives the fee because this is money that would otherwise go to family members. A personal representative may also waive the fee because it’s taxable income, while that same person may receive the property free of tax as an inheritance.