State laws vary when it comes to the percentage of an estate to which an executor is entitled, but the standard within the industry is 3 percent. Given the number of duties that an executor must perform, he more than earns this fee in most cases, according to Bankrate.
Serving as executor for an estate means taking on a number of tasks, many of which are arduous, notes Bankrate. The executor must locate all of the heirs, which at times requires hiring an investigator. The expenses for settling the estate come from the proceeds, not from the executor's fee, but the time involved is often considerable. The executor also has to render an inventory of the assets of the deceased, which can mean securing appraisals of antiques, collectibles and artworks. Finally, the executor must notify institutions in which the deceased held accounts that the death has taken place, petition the court for probating of the will and safeguard all assets until probate has finished.
Once probate has finally completed, it is time to distribute the assets remaining to the heirs, following the directions in the will. Sometimes this includes serving as the guardian for minor children or at least managing their money until they reach majority or their trusts mature. In the case of a disputed estate, this process can lead to litigation, so it is important for people to think carefully before accepting the role of executor, states Bankrate.