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Compensation of Executors in California

October 13, 2012

This second of three posts on fiduciary compensation in California focuses on the compensation of executors, or “personal representatives,” of an estate. The personal representative of a probate estate is entitled to “statutory compensation” in an amount based on the size of the estate. “Statutory compensation” is determined by a formula, which is usually the only factual showing required by most Bay Area courts for approval of “statutory” compensation.

This formula appears in California Probate Code §10800. For ordinary services, a personal representative receives the following compensation:

— Four percent of the first $100,000 in the estate

— Three percent of the next $100,000

— Two percent of the next $800,000

— One percent of the next $9,000,000

— One-half percent of the of the next $15,000,000

Personal representatives fortunate enough to administer an estate over $25,000,000 are entitled to a “reasonable amount to be determined by the court.”

In some cases, the personal representative may request additional compensation beyond the statutory amount, termed “extraordinary” compensation. Requests for “extraordinary” compensation must be supported by detailed records, as described in the previous post. Some courts, including Contra Costa County, require detailed record of what services the personal representative did to earn ordinary fees before it will consider an award of extraordinary fees.


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