I am starting an asset recovery/unclaimed funds locator business based in Los Angeles. I know that there is no fee limit for finding an heir in probate, but that there is a limit of 10% at the State of CA Comptroller's Office. Can I charge a different rate for helping recover assets at the County of Los Angeles level vs. the state level (for example, excess proceeds from a foreclosure auction or tax sale in L.A. County)?
First, you will want to consult with a business attorney in this matter to go over the risks involved, and to research the business area with greater precision.
While I am not an attorney in CA anymore, fee limits are typically placed only on the executor and attorney. However, the executor is required to limit payments from the estate to those that are "reasonable". While this is a legal limit, in practice the term "reasonable" is rarely overseen or limited by judges. It does happen, just not very often in my experience.
So as far as I can tell, and aside from the statute of limitations, there is no "legal limit" on what you can charge for asset recovery, whether in or out of probate.
Aside from that, you will want to
Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC
Mr Johnson offers sound advice. You are in a grey or unclear area here. Before taking any action get an opinion from an estates and/or business attorney that you will not be violating any laws. Taking action and then trying to get legal comfort after the fact may put you in deep water here.
Be legally prudent and safe; get a legal opinion.
Hope this helps.
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