Are Executors Paid for Their Services?


Quick Answer

Executors of wills are paid for their services by the estate of the deceased person. The amount of compensation an executor receives depends on the terms of the deceased person's will and the laws of the state where the will is probated. An executor may waive his right to compensation.

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Full Answer

An executor is the person, people, bank or trust company who must ensure that a deceased person's estate is properly probated, the deceased person's bills are paid, the assets are distributed among the beneficiaries and the estate taxes are paid, among other things. Being an executor is a job; the duties require attention to detail and can be quite time-consuming. Also, the executor may be sued by the beneficiaries if they believe he has not properly performed his duties. As such, the executor is entitled to compensation. This compensation is subject to income taxes, like any other earned income.

The amount of compensation to which the executor is entitled depends on the terms of the deceased person's will and state law. Some states use sliding scales, some use percentages and some states merely require a reasonable fee. For example, in New York, the executor's compensation is a commission based on a percentage of the probate estate less specific bequests, devises and legacies, while in California and Nevada a fee schedule is set by statute, and in Pennsylvania the compensation must be reasonable and just.

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