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When someone passes away, an executor acts to administer the estate, following the will and instructions from the court. You can have an attorney act as an executor, or it’s common for a family member to take on the work. Handling executor tasks can be a demanding mental and emotional duty, especially if the executor is a loved one, and it can feel delicate to bring up that it’s still work.
States agree that executors (also called personal representatives or fiduciaries) deserve compensation for their work, but there isn’t one set rule for what counts as a reasonable rate. Knowing your state’s laws can help you plan your own will thoughtfully or discuss financial plans with loved ones if you’ll likely be an executor in the future.
Learn what the law says in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Alabama: “Reasonable compensation” of up to 2.5 percent of the value of all property received and 2.5 percent of disbursements (payments made out of the estate to settle debts, pay for funeral expenses and administer the estate). A court can allow extra compensation for above-and-beyond services an executor might perform (e.g., coordinating the sale of a home).
Alaska: “Reasonable” fee based on factors like time and labor involvement, skills needed and complexity of the estate. There’s no set amount, although $25-35 is suggested as a reasonable hourly rate.
Arizona: “Reasonable” fee based on factors like fees for similar work in the community, time and difficulty of the work and the result (i.e., if the executor successfully handled the estate). Plan to keep an itemized record of time handling tasks for the estate, as some courts may expect to see a detailed account.
Arkansas: “Just and reasonable” compensation up to 10 percent of the first $1,000 of the estate, 5 percent of the next $4,000, and 3 percent of the rest. The court may allow additional compensation for “substantial duties” regarding real property (e.g., selling a house).
California: Allowable fees are 4 percent of the first $100,000, 3 percent of the next $100,000, 2 percent of the next $800,000, and 1 percent of the next $9 million of the estate. “Extraordinary compensation” might apply if the executor performs major services like helping to keep a business running.
Colorado: “Reasonable compensation” is determined by the court based on various factors of the work, and there are no specific percentages or rates.
Connecticut: An executor or fiduciary is entitled to “reasonable compensation” that doesn’t have a specified limit or guideline; some sources say between 3-5 percent of the estate is typical.
Delaware: “Reasonable amount” without specific percentages or rates; a typical compensation may be 2 percent of the probate estate.
District of Columbia: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Florida: Compensation rates are 3 percent of the first $1 million of the estate, 2.5 percent for amounts over $1 million up to $5 million, 2 percent over $5 million and up to $10 million and 1.5 percent over $10 million. Extra compensation is allowed for “extraordinary services.”
Georgia: Commission is 2.5 percent of all funds received by the estate and 2.5 percent of funds paid out of the estate.
Hawaii: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Idaho: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Illinois: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Indiana: The state allows for “just and reasonable” compensation, but some counties have developed more specific guidelines. Hamilton County, for example, sets the maximum compensation for attorneys acting as executor to 6 percent of the first $100,000, 4 percent of the next $200,000, 3 percent of the next $700,000 and 1 percent on amounts over $1 million. There are also specific fees for some of the “extraordinary” services that many states allow extra compensation for.
Iowa: “Reasonable fees” are allowed up to a maximum of 6 percent of the first $1,000, 4 percent of the next $4,000 and 2 percent of amounts over $5,000.
Kansas: Compensation determined in the will, or “just and proper” compensation without a specific percentage guideline.
Kentucky: Compensation is up to 5 percent of the personal estate, plus 5 percent of “the income collected by the executor” for the estate.
Louisiana: As determined in the will, or 2.5 percent of the gross estate.
Maine: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Maryland: Personal representative compensation may be up to 9 percent of the first $20,000 of the adjusted estate, plus 3.6 percent of the value of the estate over the first $20,000.
Massachusetts: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Michigan: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Minnesota: “Reasonable compensation” based on time and labor, complexity and the extent of the work. No specific percentages or rates.
Mississippi: Compensation is “such sum as the court deems proper” based on the value of the estate and the extent of the executor’s duties.
Missouri: Determined in the will unless the executor renounces the will’s compensation in writing. If they do, or if the will doesn’t specify compensation, fees are 5 percent of the first $5,000, 4 percent on the next $20,000, 3 percent on the next $75,000, 2.75 percent on the next $300,000, 2.5 percent on the next $600,000 and 2 percent on all above $1 million.
Montana: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Nebraska: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Nevada: Compensation is determined in the will, unless the executor files a renunciation in writing within 60 days of their appointment. If they do file a renunciation or there’s no compensation specified in the will, executors are allowed a fee of 4 percent of the first $15,000, 3 percent of the next $85,000, and 2 percent of anything above $100,000 in the estate.
New Hampshire: Reasonable fees “determined by the nature of the estate,” subject to the court’s approval, without specific percentages or rates.
New Jersey: Executors are allowed 5 percent of the first $200,000, 3.5 percent on the next $800,000 and 2 percent on amounts over $1 million.
New Mexico: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
New York: Commission rate for an executor is 5 percent of the first $100,000, 4 percent of the next $200,000, 3 percent of the next $700,000, 2.5 percent on the next $4 million and 2 percent of anything above $5 million.
North Carolina: Compensation is up to 5 percent of the estate after any debts are settled.
North Dakota: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Ohio:Executors are allowed fees of 4 percent of the first $100,000, 3 percent of the next $300,000 and 2 percent of all amounts above $400,000. They can have a 1 percent fee on the value of real property that is not sold.
Oklahoma: If the will doesn’t specify compensation or the executor renounces compensation in the will, they are entitled to 5 percent of the first $1,000, 4 percent of the next $5,000 and 2.5 percent of all amounts over $6,000.
Oregon: Executor fees are 7 percent of the first $1,000, 4 percent of the next $9,000, 3 percent of the next $40,000 and 2 percent of all above $50,000. Executors are allowed 1 percent of any property other than life insurance proceeds that isn’t subject to the jurisdiction of the court but is reportable for Oregon or federal estate tax.
Pennsylvania: “Reasonable and just” compensation, which state guidelines say may be calculated on a “graduated percentage” (as many other states do). A common compensation guideline is the “Johnson Schedule,” from a court decision in 1983. A modified-for-inflation version of the Johnson Schedule might look like 5 percent on the first $150,000, 4 percent on the next $150,000, 3 percent on the next $1.2 million, 2 percent on the next 1.5 million and then reducing the percentage by 0.5 every $1.5 million.
Rhode Island: “Just” compensation as determined by the court, without specific percentages or rates.
South Carolina: This state is rare for specifying a minimum compensation amount for executors (even if it’s only $50). The maximum is 5 percent of the combined appraised value of the probate estate, plus sales proceeds from real property sales directed in the will or by court order.
South Dakota: Personal representatives are entitled to “reasonable compensation,” either specified in the will or outlined by the state as 5 percent of the first $1,000, 4 percent of the next $4,000 and 2.5 percent of any amount over $5,000.
Tennessee: State law only mentions “reasonable compensation,” but some counties lay out more specific guidelines.
Texas: Executors can take a 5 percent commission on amounts they actually receive or pay out in cash to administer the estate, up to 5 percent of the fair market gross value of the estate. This doesn’t count funds that were kept in a financial institution or proceeds from a life insurance policy.
Utah: “Reasonable compensation” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Vermont: “Reasonable fees” for services, without specific percentages or rates.
Virginia: State law says “reasonable compensation” without much further guidance. Court guidelines suggest the Commissioner commonly follows a rate schedule of up to 5 percent of the first $400,000, 4 percent of the next $300,000, 3 percent of the next $300,000, 2 percent from $1 million to $10 million and by agreement with the Commissioner over $10 million.
Washington: “Just and reasonable” compensation without specific percentages or rates.
West Virginia: Personal representatives can take a commission of 5 percent of the first $100,000, 4 percent of the next $300,000, 3 percent of the next $400,000 and 2 percent for any amount over $800,000.
Wisconsin: Executor compensation is 2 percent of the net value of the estate, or a rate agreed on by the deceased, the executor, and heirs with a majority interest.
Wyoming: Executor or personal representative’s fees are 10 percent of the first $1,000 of the estate, 5 percent of the next $4,000, 3 percent of the next $15,000 and 2 percent of anything over $20,000.
Looking to name an executor to fulfill your wishes after you’re gone? Create an online will with Fabric by Gerber Life in minutes.
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Fabric by Gerber Life exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.
Information provided is general and educational in nature and is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, financial, legal, or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. We make no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use, and disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information.
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