Probate is a long and difficult process. Even simple estates can face complications that can take a significant amount of time to address. If your loved one's estate is complex, or you have to handle family disputes over assets or information, your work as executor may become even more trying.
You undoubtedly want to do your job as executor well because you know how important it is to settle your loved one's final affairs correctly. Unfortunately, you may not receive many thanks during this time because other people either will not realize how hard you have to work or will focus more on trying to get what they want. However, as executor, you are likely entitled to compensation.
Because of the amount of time and work that goes into closing an estate, state laws typically allow for the executor to collect a reasonable fee for his or her services. If you would rather complete the process without collecting a fee or any type of compensation, you have no obligation to accept the fee. However, if you would like to collect the fee, you should understand how to calculate it.
Specific instruction or state law
The executor's fee can result from various calculations. When it comes to laws in each state, the calculation differs. For example, some states allow the executor to receive compensation that equals a percentage of the gross value of the probate estate. Other states allow for a commission based on a percentage of the transactions actually handled by the executor. In Texas, state law indicates that the executor deserves a 5 percent commission that cannot exceed 5 percent of the gross value of the estate.
State law does not necessarily have to apply, however. If the decedent left a will, naming you as executor, you may want to closely examine the details of the will to determine whether it contains information on your executor's fee. Some individuals may name a specific amount the executor should receive, and others may indicate that state law should take precedence. Additionally, a person could indicate a specific item the executor should receive as opposed to monetary compensation.
Understanding the executor's fee
At first, you may accept the role of executor without expectation of compensation. However, understanding your entitlement to a fee may prove wise as you may realize that you do need compensation for your time and effort. Consulting with an experienced probate attorney could help you better understand this aspect of handling probate as well as any other part of the process.