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Are you wondering what are the California Executor fees?

Are you trying to determine executor compensation in California? Here is how to calculate the executor fees.

The fee that the executor in California can charge is set by statute. The executor fees in California are found in the probate code and are set as follows:

The fees are set up as a percentage of the total value of the estate. In order to determine the executor fees, California first determines the total value of the estate and then charges a percentage of the estate using a sliding scale.  The percentages start at 4% of the value of the estate up to the first $100,000.  The percentage decreases to 3% for the next $100,000. The percentage decreases to 2% for the next $800,000 of the estate. The executor may receive 1% of the next $1,000,000 of estate property. After that, the court then determines the appropriate additional fee.

Here is a chart of the California Probate Executor fees:

Value of the Estate              ___          Executor Fee                      Maximum Fees
$0 – 100,000                                                    4%                                          $ 4,000

$100,001 – 200,000                                       3%                                          $  3,000

$200,001 – 1,000,000                                    2%                                          $16,000

$1,000,001 – 2,000,000                                1%                                           $10,000

$2,000,001 – Infinity                                              Determined by the Judge

As stated above, the fees are based upon the fair market value of all property in the estate, without deducting for any mortgages or other loans on any property that is part of the estate.

Here is an example of how California Courts typically determine executor fees:

Let’s say that the total value of the estate is $635,000 with the following property values:

Property                                               Value                  Mortgage          Equity                  Executor Fee based on         Executor Fee

Family home value                            $500,000               $350,000        $150,000                 $500,000
The home’s value is $500,000. Therefore the first $100k of the $500,000 total is calculated at 4%.                 1st $100k   = $4,000
After subtracting the first $100k, the balance is $400k. The 2nd $100K of the estate is calculated at 3%.        2nd $100k = $3,000
After subtracting the $200K from above, the remaining home value is $300k. The 3rd level is 2%.                    $300,000  = $6,000

Bank Accounts                                   $100,000                      –                  $100,000                         $100,000               $100,000   = $2,000

Stocks, Bonds                                      $ 20,000                     –                    $ 20,000                          $ 20,000              $ 20,000    = $    400

Car                                                         $ 10,000                     –                    $ 10,000                          $ 10,000                $ 10,000     = $    200

Jewelry                                                 $   5,000                     –                    $   5,000                          $    5,000                 $   5,000     = $   100   

Totals                                                  $635,000             $350,000          $ 275,000                             –                                                   $ 15,700

The total fees for California executor in this estate would be: $15,700.

The example above is for an estate that had a home value of approximately five hundred thousand dollars. Most homes and other real estate in California is now at or above one million dollars. If we change the home value in the example above to one million dollars, then the total probate executor fees for the home alone would be $23,000 instead of $13,000 and the total fee would be $25,700.

As you can see, the fees increase substantially based on the fair market value of real estate regardless of the mortgage owed. Additionally, there is not much more effort to sell a million dollar home than there is to sell a $500,000 home. So while the effort for the executor does not substantially increase, the fees owed to the executor increase substantially.

A large percentage of the executor fees can be saved if the person creates a living trust. However, this must be done while the person is still alive. If the person has already passed, then these probate fees are the normal to expect to be paid to the executor in California.

If you need help calculating fees or with any part of administering an estate, call us at 800-500-9620 for a free consultation.

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