Bill worsens excessive probate fee, says lawyer

July 8, 2013

images-2Exorbitant fees and charges levied by California court-appointed conservators and trustees — routinely sanctioned by judges — remains uncorrected despite pending legislation designed to change existing law, according to an attorney whose client initially prompted lawmakers’ attention. (San Jose Mercury News)

The attorney, Matt Crosby, has withdrawn his support for Senate Bill 156, now headed for the governor’s signature.

The bill evolved from a long series of news articles in the Mercury News detailing the financial fleecing of estates by probate-court-appointed managers and their attorneys. In many instances, the victims of these inflated charges are the elderly and infirm.

Crosby said changes made in the bill as “concessions” to lobbyists for lawyers and fiduciaries made the bill “a feel-good” exercise that probably has exacerbated the situation.

Crosby represented Danny Reed pro bono. Reed is a 38-year-old San Jose man who suffered brain damage after being struck by two cars.

His court-appointed trustee, Thomas Thorpe, billed Reed’s estate $108,771 after 4 1/2 months of work. Reed retained counsel, an action which then allowed Thorpe to initiate a “fee-on-fee” — using Reed’s own money to successfully fight the injured man in court.



  1. whatisup says:

    The California public has lost control as the California legislature passes laws with little or no understanding or concern of the legislature of the ramifications to the public of their actions. Both the idiots on the left and right never see THEIR representatives doing these destructive acts. It is always the other guy’s representatives. Both sides pay close attention and fight over a few high profile issues (abortion, etc.)while their representatives, both left and right, vote in laws for special interests that are designed to remove money from the publics’ pockets. Jerks!

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. kayaknut says:

    I guess if anyone would know about excessive fees it would be a lawyer

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  3. Mr. Holly says:

    “Concession” to make the bill feel good. This sounds like softening to the affects of legalizing the crime spree that runs thru the judicial systems amongst the attorneys. This is like who is watching the hen house since attorney’s and judges are making these decisions. It’s you pat my back and I’ll pat your back or the good old boy network.
    There are hundreds of people serving some serious time in prisons for stealing alot less than these crooks.

    (25) 25 Total Votes - 25 up - 0 down

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