Costs of probate: “probate referee” fee

 In Blog, Estate Administration, Estate Planning, Probate

When you hear the term “probate referee,” you might picture a guy with a whistle saying, “Break it up!” at a professional wrestling match. Although someone like this might be helpful (as probate disputes can get heated), that’s not actually what a probate referee does.

A probate referee is a person appointed by the court to appraise property in a probate estate that is not otherwise appraised by the executor or administrator. The probate referee is largely responsible for appraising non-cash property.

How much does the probate referee get paid?

The probate referee gets an amount equal to one tenth of one percent (0.001%) of the total value of the property appraised, subject to the following:

  • The minimum commission is $75; and
  • The maximum commission is generally $10,000 (the probate referee can petition the court for more)

The referee fee is paid out of the estate. This fee is an expense of administration, a priority payment under the Probate Code. He or she is also entitled to reimbursement for expenses. If more than one referee works on the appraisal, the above described fee is split between them.

All in all, this is not a huge fee, but it is one of many costs associated with probate administration. These costs can be avoided with a revocable living trust. This is why we recommend executing a trust if the value of your estate is such that probate would otherwise be required.

Helix Law Firm can help with estate planning and administration

We can help you administer a probate estate if you need assistance. If you would like to set up a living trust to avoid probate for your estate, we can help with that as well.

If you’re interested in learning more, please call us at (619) 567-4447 to schedule a free consultation.

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