Today, the Standing Committee on Commissioners of Accounts of the Judicial Council of Virginia, first appointed by Chief Justice Carrico in 1993, has oversight over the commissioner system. This committee created the Manual for Commissioners of Account, promulgated the suggested Uniform Fiduciary Fee Schedule and the Uniform Fee Schedule for Commissioners of Account, and developed a procedure for receiving complaints against commissioners, all of which the Judicial Council has approved.
The Fairfax Circuit Court sets the fees which the commissioner’s office charges. The court has adopted the Uniform Fiduciary Fee Schedule, but, at the request of the Fairfax Commissioner, has adopted its own fee schedule for its commissioner. The court periodically reviews both the fee structure and the receipts and expenditures of the office to assure that the fees charged to the public are reasonable and commensurate with the services required. These “user” fees fully fund the operations of the commissioner and alleviate any requirement for tax support for Virginia probate operations. The Judicial Council currently has under consideration a Uniform Fee Schedule for Commissioners of Account substantially similar to that now in effect in Fairfax. Copies of the fee schedules payable to the commissioner for the various types of estates now in effect in Fairfax are available at the Commissioner’s Fees tab.
The matters that the commissioner reviews vary in complexity and in size. In order to spread the load equitably among the filers, the commissioner’s fees are based upon the assets which each fiduciary has within his control rather than upon the complexity of the account. While this allocates the burden differently than a fee based upon complexity, it generally assures that the fee is not prohibitive for the size of the estate. In addition, fees are determined at different rates for estates, trusts, conservatorships and guardianships.