Download our free probate checklist. Download now

Everything you need to know about executor fees in Alberta

Generally, an estate executor in Alberta gets paid 3-5% of the estate’s value. However, this percentage fee isn't always the case. Read on to learn more.

Executor fees in alberta

Estate executors in Alberta have a challenging role.

They must submit the deceased individual's will to the Alberta Surrogate Court, file the deceased's final tax returns, register estate accounts, notify relevant parties of the death, arrange the funeral, catalogue and itemize the estate's assets, paying court fees, and liaise with beneficiaries, among many other duties.

Serving as an estate executor in Alberta signifies you've undertaken the task of respecting your loved one's last wishes. However, this doesn't imply you're doing it without compensation.

In Alberta, executors are frequently eligible for remuneration for the time and dedication they invest in the estate administration, with the estate footing the bill.

In certain situations, the compensation for an executor might also be set by the Surrogate Court.

Here's how it works in Alberta:

How Much Are Executor Fees in Alberta?

Executor fees in Alberta are informed by the ESTATE ADMINISTRATION SUGGESTED FEE GUIDELINES, established in 1995 by the Surrogate Rules Committee. While they aren't mandatory, the Surrogate Court often utilizes them as a reference to determine a reasonable executor fee.

Capital-Based Fees:

  • 3% to 5% on the initial $250,000 of the estate's value.
  • 2% to 4% on the following $250,000.
  • 0.5% to 3% on any excess amount.

Revenue-Related Compensation:
For executors managing assets that generate revenue, compensation is typically 4% to 6% of the income produced for the estate.

Asset Management Fees:
When executors are entrusted with the care and oversight of estate assets, the proposed charges are:

  • 0.3% to 0.6% for the first $250,000.
  • 0.2% to 0.5% on the subsequent $250,000.
  • 0.1% to 0.4% on any residual amount.

Additional Tasks Compensation:
Executors can also be eligible for supplementary fees for specialized tasks that fall outside standard responsibilities, such as wrapping up a business, filing tax returns for the estate, or assuming a managerial position in an estate-owned business.

It's pivotal to recognize that while these guidelines give a general framework, they're not set in stone. It's advisable for executors and beneficiaries to reach a consensus on fees, taking into account both the guidelines and the specific nuances of the estate in question.

Are Percentage Fees Set in Stone?

In Alberta, the matter of executor compensation is less about rigid percentage benchmarks and more about the unique characteristics of each estate.

To shed light:

Alberta's Surrogate Rules (Alta Reg 130/1995, s 137) provide that personal representatives or executors may be entitled to "fair and reasonable" compensation. This is determined by evaluating their dedicated efforts, responsibilities, and the overall time invested in administering the estate.

Here are some of the factors that might be considered for compensation in Alberta:

  • Capital Receipts: Funds derived from the sale of assets.
  • Capital Disbursements: Costs associated with improving or maintaining estate assets.
  • Revenue Receipts: Income generated from offerings, be it services or goods.
  • Revenue Disbursements: Costs incurred in the course of estate management, such as staffing or procurement.

While some regions may lean on standardized percentages, like a 0.4% management fee, Alberta emphasizes the individual attributes of each estate. No two estates are identical, and hence, compensation assessments are tailored to fit their unique challenges and complexities.

For instance:

  • (A) An estate predominantly comprising a single real estate property might warrant an executor fee lower than 5%, given its relatively straightforward attributes.

  • (B) In contrast, an expansive estate, with beneficiaries in various locales and multiple assets, could justify an executor fee potentially higher than 5%, taking into account its nuanced demands and intricacies.

What Determines Executor Fee in Alberta?

Executor fees in Alberta are ascertained by several critical factors to ensure that the personal representatives receive fair compensation for their role in administering an estate.

Key Determinants of The Executors Compensation:

  • Estate Value: The gross value of the estate is a primary consideration.
  • Complexity & Work Extent: The intricacy of the tasks, including the occurrence of any unusual or challenging scenarios.
  • Skill & Time Requirement: The amount of skill, technological support, specialized knowledge, and time invested in the estate's administration.
  • Revenue Management: The magnitude of revenue receipts and disbursements.
  • Delegation: The number and complexity of tasks assigned to other entities.
  • Number of Executors: How many personal representatives were named in the will.

Stipulations in the Will: If the will predetermines the executor compensation, it becomes the standard fee unless altered by a beneficiary agreement or court order.

Sharing Compensation: Once the compensation amount is settled, it's divided among the personal representatives as per mutual agreement or as directed by the court.

Pre-Taking Compensation: In some instances, executors can claim their fees before the estate's complete administration. This is permissible if the will dictates it, all beneficiaries approve, or it's court-ordered.

Legal Representatives & Compensation: Should a lawyer or another agent undertake the executor's duties, the executor's compensation must be reduced equivalently.

Reimbursement of Expenses: Executors are entitled to refunds for valid expenses incurred during the estate's administration. These expenses might include fees for professionals such as lawyers, accountants, or real estate agents who assist in estate management.

Additional Compensation: Executors might be entitled to extra remuneration when:

  • Assuming roles beyond standard duties, such as managerial positions in businesses.
  • Facing atypical challenges or situations.
  • Necessitating legal guidance due to disputes.

In essence, while Alberta's executor fees are influenced by several factors, they fundamentally revolve around the estate's value, the intricacy of the role, and the executor's responsibilities. Beneficiaries and executors should always ensure transparency and fairness when determining these fees.

Common Questions About Executor Fees

Are executor fees taxable in Alberta?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) classifies executor fees as "a business income or income from employment or tenure of office."

These fees should be reported in the tax year they're received. While fees, excluding any reimbursements for expenses, are subject to income tax, there's no need to incorporate GST unless the role of the executor is part of their commercial activities. Always remember to declare these fees via a T4 filing.

What Can an Executor Claim for Expenses?

Executors are permitted to claim reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses tied to estate settlement, governed by the principle of 'reasonableness'. Common expenses include:

  • Accountant fees
  • Funeral costs
  • Legal consultations
  • Travel for estate-related activities
  • Notary services
  • Property management fees

Navigating Executor Fees in Alberta: Final Thoughts

Serving as an executor in Alberta is a demanding role that requires attention to detail, dedication, and profound respect for the deceased's final wishes.

The landscape of executor fees is structured by Alberta's Surrogate Rules (Alta Reg 130/1995, s 137), highlighting the importance of "fair and reasonable" compensation based on the unique attributes of each estate.

With guidelines ranging from capital-based fees to reimbursements for valid expenses and other compensatory elements, understanding this complex framework is crucial for both executors and beneficiaries.

🔹 Looking for expert guidance on estate settlement in Alberta?

ClearEstate is here to help.

Book a free consultation with us today to ensure a comprehensive and transparent estate administration journey.

Untitled design 3 Need help with probate?

Get free, personalized guidance from our estate specialists who have guided over 10,000 families through probate. Book a free, no hassle and confidential consultation today.

Book a free consultation today