Costs and Timelines

During administration, do funds held by the Public Administrator earn interest?

Answer: Yes, the Public Administrator maintains all funds in interest bearing accounts in compliance with California law. Interest earnings accrue to the estate and are part of the final distribution.

Do estate beneficiaries receive a full accounting of the estate administration?

Answer: Yes, a copy of the final account is mailed to all beneficiaries when it is submitted to the Court for approval. The statement includes a record of all receipts, disbursements, fees, and the proposed distribution.

How long does it take for the estate to be distributed to the heirs?

Answer: The complexity of the estate and the determination of the individuals that are entitled to inherit the estate dictate the length of time an estate administration will take. We caution beneficiaries not to plan their financial affairs upon the expectation of receiving a distribution of a certain amount at a specific time.

How much does the Public Administrator charge for services?

Answer: California law provides a statutory fee for the personal representative (administrator) of an estate. The allowable fees are based on the value of the estate accounted for as follows:

  • 4% of the first $ 100,000
  • 3% of the next $ 100,000
  • 2% of the next $ 800,000
  • 1% of the next $ 9,000,000
  • 1/2% of the amount above $15,000,000
  • Estates valued greater than $25,000,000 have fees determined by the court

The Public Administrator is allowed the same compensation as private administrators. Unlike private administrators, the Public Administrator is entitled to a minimum compensation of $1000.00.

The law also provides for attorney fees based on the same fee schedule as that of the administrator. The Court may also allow extraordinary fees to the administrator and her attorneys for services such as preparation of tax refunds, sale of estate property, and litigation to collect assets or defend actions brought against the estate. The Probate Court reviews and must approve all requests for fees at the time any administrator presents a final accounting to the Court. Public Administrator fees are deposited in the Shasta County General Fund and used to pay for the costs of administering estates. The Public Administrator may also charge for hauling and storage of estate property. These charges may also be subject to Court approval.

Are heirs required to advance funds necessary for administration of the estate (court costs, insurance, drayage and storage costs, etc.) in those cases where estate funds are not immediately available?

Answer: No, in most cases, the Public Administrator either provides needed services directly through in-house staff and facilities or utilizes an estate reserve account to advance the needed funds.

How can a person or other interested person help to speed up the administration?

Answer: They can give invaluable assistance by promptly and fully completing all forms and answering all inquiries sent to them by the Public Administrator.