Statutory Attorney Fees

More and more these days we see celebrities pass away without an estate plan. As a probate attorney, I am always happy when probate administration matters come through the door. Especially, as morbid as this sounds if the decedent had a lot of money. Why this joy for learning of a rich person’s passing? Statutory Probate Attorney Fees of course.

In California, persons who pass with only a will, or perhaps no will at all, must have their estate go through court-mandated probate administration. While an heir can certainly take on this responsibility on their own, most seek the assistance of counsel. California’s Probate Code §10810 sets out a statutory scale for attorney fees in probate matters. The compensation for the attorney is based upon the total value of the estate as follows:

  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.

This is a cumulative amount so it would work like this. Say Black Panther passes away with an estate with a value of $10 million. Based upon the scale above, the attorney who handled the probate administration would be entitled to at least $113,000. It breaks down like this:

4% - $100,000 - $4000

3% - $100,000 - $3000

2% - $800,000 - $16,000

1% - $9,000,000 - $90,000

Total - $10,000,000 - $113,000

Who wouldn’t want $113,000 to walk through their door every day?!? Do you believe that Black Panther would rather give attorneys $113,000 or give that money to his loved ones? Additionally, typical probate matters take at least 1-1.5 years to complete.

So how do we avoid probate? The best way to avoid probate is to live forever! But that is not possible as of yet so the second-best way to avoid probate is to create an Estate Plan including a Revocable (Living) Trust. To speak with a qualified estate planning attorney, contact us at Barilari & Williams, LLP.

Recent Posts