Executor Compensation and Fees (CA)

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If the will does not specify how executor compensation should be calculated, CA estates must follow state compensation rules (see CA calculator below).

In California, the estate executor is known as the "personal representative".

For CA estates, compensation specified by the will can only be changed if the court grants an executor's petition to be relieved of those provisions ... even agreement among the affected parties is not enough by itself to increase or decrease that amount.

If compensation details are not addressed by the will (or relief from those terms is granted by the court), then California law determines compensation based on the gross value of the estate, without considering any debts or obligations, but including any asset valuation realized due to actual asset sales, as well as any other estate receipts such as income generated by the estate during the probate process:

  • 4.0% on the first $100K
  • 3.0% on the next $100K
  • 2.0% on the next $800K
  • 1.0% on the next $9M
  • 0.5% on the next $15M
  • A reasonable amount, as determined by the court, for all amounts >$25M

So, for example, a California estate with a qualified gross value of $50K would yield $2K in executor fees, and one worth $1M would generate $23K in executor fees.

Note that assets with named beneficiaries (such as IRAs) are also not included in these calculations.

If there are 2 or more executors, the fee should be divided among the executors either according to services rendered, or as agreed among the executors.

Finally, the court can allow additional compensation for "extraordinary" services, such as overseeing the sale or lease of real estate, running a business, conducting litigation, preparing tax returns yourself, handling tax audits, and so on (see California Rules of Court 7.703).

See California Probate Code, §§ 10800-10805.

CA Compensation Calculator

EstateExec provides the following executor compensation estimator for CA estates, but please keep in mind that circumstances may vary, and that there may be special situations addressed by local custom or law. By using this estimator, you acknowledge that EstateExec provides any results as informational input only, not as legal advice, and cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies for, or misunderstandings about, any given estate.

You can use this calculator now, but if you use EstateExec to help you track the settlement process, it will automatically sum the asset values at death, calculate any valuation changes due to sales, and suggest the result in the Estate Gross Value field below (you can create an estate for free).

Compensation:  $ -

Calculator Instructions

To calculate CA executor compensation, follow these steps:

  1. Enter gross value of estate assets (as modified by any asset sale price changes)
  2. Enter additional receipts (such as income generated by the estate)
  3. Enter the value of any extraordinary services (such as selling a house)
  4. Enter the number of executors
  5. Press the Calculate Now button

If you are using EstateExec, it will automatically calculate and populate the above fields from the contents of your estate, which you can override if desired.

See also Compensation for general remarks on executor compensation.

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