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Who costs more, an atty for the estate or an atty for the trustee?

San Francisco, CA |

-based on the same time and effort.

Say, for an estate gross worth of $300,000.00. No property or items to inventory, just bank and investment accounts?

-excluding an atty who is also the trustee.

To compare,

Q: who costs more an executor of an estate or the trustee of the same estate?
-based on the same time and effort.

-excluding a person who is both.

Thank You,

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

In California an executor would be entitled to $9,000 as "fees for ordinary services" in a probate. If the executor performed any "extraordinary" services s/he would be able to petition the court to be paid for those services in addition to the $9,000. The Court will usually approve extraordinary fees based on the number of hours spent at a rate of $35 to $125 per hour. In some circumstances, the Court will approve a higher hourly rate.

A trustee usually charges a minimum fee of $5,000 to $7,500. If the trust is worth more than $500,000 the fee is usually 0.8% to 1.2% of the value of the assets (so if the trust is worth $300K, the minimum fee would be $5K to $7.5K; if the trust were worth $700K, the minimum fee would probably be $7K to $8.5K, and so on). This fee is an annual fee for being responsible for the assets. If the trustee performs any services (such as preparing accountings for the beneficiaries, having the tax returns prepared, etc.), they typically charge $90 to $125 per hour for those services.

For a $300,000 estate with just bank and investment accounts, it might cost slightly less to have a trustee than to go through probate - but it would be a relatively close call.

If the accounts are going to be closed shortly after death and distributed to the beneficiaries, then the trust would be quicker to settle.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.


Who knows? Most executors/Personal Reps only charge for expenses as they are usually also beneficiaries (although there is nothing wrong with some reasonable charge if the will does not prohibit it). There is a bunch of leg work that always has to be done that you may not see not to mention the potential liability the goes along with the job

Not sure what sort of trustee you mean/need?

Either way, the only way to know is to ask--everyone is different and I believe (DO NOT RELY ON THIS) but I think Calif has some statues that deal directly with the issues of fee amounts in this context (at least for attorneys).

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Based on your break-down, Executor and Attorney for the Estate would generally have much higher fees.

In instance you describe, statutory fees (CA) to both Executor would be high as already pointed out.

In contrast - if you have individual/friend as Trustee, charging around $40 per hour non professional, hiring accountant for book keeping to assist attorney and Trustee - this is quite easy.

Attorney can bill around $2-$2,500 flat fee for time, bookkeeper under $1,000, and the Trustee around $2,000 to $4000 or so depending how complex dealings are with the beneficiary.

This is a "no-brainer" - do the Trust in 99.99% of the cases to save your time, money (for beneficiaries), and avoid conservatorship.