A personal representative (or “ executor”) of an estate has many tasks and responsibilities. However, the California Probate Code allows a personal representative to claim a fee for services. The amount of compensation an executor may receive is based on the total value of the probate estate. The value of a probate estate is the sum of all probate assets. Probate assets include real estate and personal property held by the decedent individually without a beneficiary or co-owner. Mortgages or debts of the decedent are not included in the calculation of the estate value.
Under §10800 of the Code an executor of an estate may claim the following ordinary compensation:
- Four percent of the first $100,000 in the estate (ex: $4,000 for a $100,000 estate)
- Three percent of the next $100,000 (ex: $7,000 for a $200,000 estate);
- Two percent of the next $800,000 (ex: $23,000 for a $1 million estate);
- One percent of the next $9,000,000;
- One-half percent of the of the next $15,000,000; and
- Fees for the administration of an estate valued over $25 million are determined by the court.
California courts have discretion to award additional fees beyond the amount set by the Code. Additional fees are typically only awarded if the administration of the estate was particularly complicated. An executor requesting additional compensation must support the request with detailed records describing the executor’s services and expenses. Some county courts may require an executor to submit time records to receive ordinary fee awards.