Should you pay your executor? Increasingly, the answer is yes. The administration of an estate takes time. Debts must be compiled, notifications sent to creditors, tax returns must be filed, and finally the remaining assets must be distributed according to the will. Many of these duties can only be done in normal business hours. If the executor is employed time must be taken away from their primary employment.
Depending on the complexity and size of an estate, fees may be charged as a percentage of an estate’s value, as many states set up allowable payment amounts in this manner. Fees may also be assessed at an hourly rate and current prices in your area will serve as a guide. If costs seem prohibitive to any party to an estate, they can appeal to the probate court to have all or part of a charge removed.
To avoid any conflicts, transparency is a good policy. If you are making a will, and it is your intention for your executor to be paid for services, it should be as clearly stated as any distribution of assets. As an executor, you must notify all parties listed in the will of your appointment. Your intention to be paid for services should be part of the notification process. If the beneficiaries balk at your request, and a fee agreeable to all parties cannot be reached, you may resign your appointment.
Your executor may decline to receive any payment. This may be done out of friendship or familial obligation. They should charge the estate for out of pocket costs associated with administering their duties and rightfully should be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses.