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2024 California Rules of Court

Rule 7.703. Extraordinary compensation

(a) Discretion of the court

An award of extraordinary compensation to the personal representative or to the attorney for the personal representative is within the discretion of the court. The court may consider the amount of statutory compensation when determining compensation for extraordinary services.

(b) Examples of extraordinary services by personal representative

The following is a nonexclusive list of activities for which extraordinary compensation may be awarded to the personal representative:

(1)  Selling, leasing, exchanging, financing, or foreclosing real or personal property;

(2)  Carrying on decedent's business if necessary to preserve the estate or under court order;

(3)  Preparing tax returns; and

(4)  Handling audits or litigation connected with tax liabilities of the decedent or of the estate.

(c) Examples of extraordinary services by attorney

The following is a nonexclusive list of activities for which extraordinary compensation may be awarded to the attorney for the personal representative:

(1)  Legal services in connection with the sale of property held in the estate;

(2)  Services to secure a loan to pay estate debts;

(3)  Litigation undertaken to benefit the estate or to protect its interests;

(4)  Defense of the personal representative's account;

(5)  Defense of a will contested after its admission to probate;

(6)  Successful defense of a will contested before its admission to probate;

(7)  Successful defense of a personal representative in a removal proceeding;

(8)  Extraordinary efforts to locate estate assets;

(9)  Litigation in support of attorney's request for extraordinary compensation, where prior compensation awards are not adequate compensation under all the circumstances;

(10)  Coordination of ancillary administration; and

(11)  Accounting for a deceased, incapacitated, or absconded personal representative under Probate Code section 10953.

(d) Contingency fee agreement for extraordinary legal services

An attorney may agree to perform extraordinary services for a personal representative on a contingent-fee basis on the following conditions:

(1)  The agreement must be in writing and must comply with section 6147 of the Business and Professions Code;

(2)  The court must approve the agreement in the manner provided in Probate Code section 10811(c), based on findings that the compensation under the agreement is just and reasonable, that the agreement is to the advantage of the estate, and that the agreement is in the best interest of the persons interested in the estate; and

(3)  In the absence of an emergency or other unusual circumstances, the personal representative must obtain the court's approval of the contingency fee agreement before services are performed under it.

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(e) Use of paralegals in the performance of extraordinary services

Extraordinary legal services may include the services of a paralegal as defined in Business and Professions Code section 6450(a) only if the request for extraordinary legal fees for the paralegal's services:

(1)  Describes the qualifications of the paralegal (including education, certification, continuing education, and experience). The description must state that the paralegal:

(A)  Acted under the direction and supervision of an attorney;

(B)  Satisfies one or more of the minimum qualifications specified in Business and Professions Code section 6450(c); and

(C)  Has completed mandatory continuing education required by Business and Professions Code section 6450(d) for the last two-year certification period ending before the year during which any part of the paralegal's services were performed.

(2)  States the hours spent by the paralegal and the hourly rate requested for the paralegal's services;

(3)  Describes the services performed by the paralegal;

(4)  States why it was appropriate to use the paralegal's services in the particular case; and

(5)  Demonstrates that the total amount requested for the extraordinary services of the attorney and the paralegal does not exceed the amount appropriate if the attorney had performed the services without the paralegal's assistance.

(Subd (e) amended effective July 1, 2010.)

Rule 7.703 amended effective July 1, 2010; adopted effective January 1, 2003; previously amended effective January 1, 2007.

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