When are Executor Fees Paid?

An estate executor is often compensated for their time and efforts, and that compensation is usually set forth in the will and is paid out by the estate.

Posted on October 13, 2021 by Alex Gauthier
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Estate executors have a tough job. They have to submit the deceased person’s will to probate court, make an inventory of the estate’s assets, and deal with beneficiaries, just to name a few responsibilities. That’s why an estate executor is often compensated for their time and efforts, and that compensation is usually set forth in the will and is paid out by the estate. In some cases, an executor’s fee may also be determined by the probate court. Here’s how it goes down:

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How do Estate Executors Get Paid?

In addition to being reimbursed (after approval) for all of the expenses that they’ve incurred during the settlement process, an executor has the right to be compensated by the estate. California is one of many places in the United States where there is a statutory fee that is directly related to the size of the probate estate.

The California Probate Code states that the executor should receive compensation as follows:

  • Four percent from the first $100,000
  • Three percent on the next $100,000
  • Two percent on the next $800,000
  • Zero percent on the next $9M
  • Five percent on the next $15M.

Compensation for estates that are valued over $25M is determined by a court and set at a reasonable amount.

When do Estate Executors Get Paid?

From the moment they're initially appointed, the estate executor has a big job ahead of them. In most cases, it can take around a year to pay all outstanding taxes and bills, administer an estate’s assets and property, and locate heirs. An estate can remain open for years if its finances are particularly complicated or if beneficiaries contest the will.

Because of this lengthy process, estate executors can find themselves waiting for payment for quite a while. The fees which the estate executors are paid come from the estate itself, and are usually paid out at the end of the estate settlement process.