See the law here.
The Personal Representative must file a final account, report and petition for final distribution, have the petition set for hearing, give notice of the hearing to interested persons, and obtain a court order approving the final distribution.
If the Personal Representative wants to receive compensation for his or her services, a petition for fees should also be included in the petition for final distribution.
A final account does not have to be filed if all the persons entitled to distribution of the estate sign a written waiver of account or a written acknowledgment of receipt of their share of the estate.
You will need to contact the probate court and request a copy of these types of documents or hire a paralegal that works for herself in the county where the probate proceedings were held. Once you have these records, you will then be able to determine how the bequest went from 20K to 5K. If it turns out that there were excessive fees charged by the law firm and approved by the court, you may have to appeal the court order or file a motion for reconsideration. You may need to hire a CA probate lawyer yourself to do this once you get the records.
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