The personal representative of an estate has a litany of responsibilities it must fulfill. They must locate, inventory, and manage the assets of the estate. They must notify beneficiaries and heirs that the decedent has died. They must notify creditors of the estate and verify which creditor claims are valid and, thus, must be paid off with estate assets. They are also, of course, responsible for transferring the remaining assets of the estate to the appropriate beneficiaries and heirs. This can be a lot, especially when dealing with more complex estates and larger estates. It only makes sense then that personal representatives of estate are entitled to payment for services rendered. After all, it can certainly be a time consuming job and one that requires a great deal of effort and energy expended on the part of the personal representative.
Payment for the Personal Representative of an Estate
In some cases, a decedent will have provided for how much the personal representative is to be compensated in their Last Will and Testament. When this happens, that is what the personal representative will be compensated. The term of how much they will be paid is covered by the will provision. There is not always, however, such a provision in a decedent’s will and sometimes there is no will at all. So, when there is no provision for how much the personal representative of the estate should be paid, how much do they get and how is it determined?
Most of the time, California law is used to determine how much the personal representative of an estate will be compensated for their services. Under California law, the amount of compensation a personal representative receives for their role in administering the decedent’s estate is based on a percentage of the gross value of the probate estate. The gross value of the estate is the estate’s value without any deductions being made for things like debts, loans, and other obligations. The value of the estate after such deductions are made is the estate’s net value.
California Probate Code Section 10810 dictates that a personal representative will receive the following compensation based on the gross value of the decedent’s probate estate:
- 4% of the first $100,000
- 3% of the next $100,000
- 2% of the next $800,000
- 1% of the next $9 million
- 5% of the next $15 million
In regard to anything above $25 million, the court will be tasked with determining a reasonable amount. Furthermore, the court has the authority to grant additional compensation to a personal representative. Additional compensation is usually granted by the court in the event that the personal representative has provided extraordinary services over the course of executing their duties as personal representative. An example of extraordinary services could be running a business, among other things.