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How Much Does the Executor of a Will Get Paid?

Questions like “Does the executor of a will get paid?” frequently appear in the discussions between Georgia probate lawyers and their clients.

It is a topic of interest for both beneficiaries or appointed Executors who want to ensure each party is compensated correctly.

If you are an Executor, you realize the volume of work and effort this activity implies and want to receive reasonable compensation. If you are a beneficiary, you are interested in paying fewer fees and ensuring that the executor completes his duties correctly.

Let’s discuss in detail the situations that might arise and everything you should know about executor fees in Georgia.

 

First, Why Does an Executor Get Paid?

Being an Executor involves many responsibilities that must be fulfilled during probate. The probate process may be lengthy; it may take months or years to complete. It’s the primary reason why an executor fee may apply.

Plus, Executors have the right to receive compensation for their services. They have to perform a variety of tasks, among which:

  • Open the probate process.
  • Identify the assets of the deceased.
  • Administer the estate.
  • Notify the beneficiaries and heirs and also the creditors.
  • Pay the debts.
  • Assign the assets to heirs and beneficiaries.
  • Miscellaneous other.
  • Close the estate.

Under Georgia law, an executor may serve with or without being paid, as directed in the will.

If the will specifies that the executor will not be paid for their duty, then they will not receive executor fees.

Settling an estate in Georgia can take time, and in some situations, the executor receives a fee for the time and energy spent while handling everything.

 

How Much Does an Executor Get Paid? How Much Does the Executor of a Will Get Paid?

There is no straight answer to this question. It depends on the situation.

The will states a specific amount to be paid to the executor.

Suppose the will mentions an executor compensation. In such cases, it may set a specific amount of compensation or a flat fee or indicate a formula or other method of calculating the executor’s fee. 

After the will is probated, accepted by the Probate Court, and the estate is administered, the executor will receive the amount listed as executor fees.

Consequently, the executor will receive the payment as the will directs and usually may not receive additional compensation under Georgia probate law.

The will states that the executor will not be paid.

Suppose the will is probated and accepted by the Court as the Last Will and Testament and explicitly states that the executor will not be paid for their role. In that case, they will not receive any payment for serving as executor.

The will does not mention Executor fees.

If the will does not mention Executor fees at all or if the will specifies that the executor is to receive a commission for serving as executor but not the exact amount or fee, then they will get paid for their time as an Executor.

And will be compensated according to the default rules of Georgia probate law.

The state law outlines the following:

  • An executor is entitled to receive 2.5% of all money brought into the estate and 2.5% of all money paid or distributed out of an estate. This amount does not include real estate value (unless the executor sells it) or stocks and bonds (unless sold by the executor).
  • The executor may receive 10% of any interest earned by the estate.
  • By petitioning the appropriate Georgia probate court, the executor may receive additional compensation of up to 3% of the value of the non-money property (like stocks, real estate, and bonds) that is distributed to the beneficiaries without being sold.

When Does an Executor Get Paid?

Executor payment has to respect the rule that creditors get satisfied before heirs and beneficiaries receive their distribution.

There is an order of creditors that must be satisfied.

In Georgia, a system dictates which debts are paid first. The following order should be respected:

  1. Years Support
  2.  Funeral expenses
  3.  Administration fees
  4.  Expenses of final illness
  5.  Income tax, estate tax, and other taxes
  6.  Secured Creditors
  7.  Unsecured Creditors
  8.  Heirs/Beneficiaries

Consequently, the executor gets paid after years support, and funeral costs are discharged.

Does the executor get paid before the beneficiaries?

The 3rd creditor on the list is Administration Fees. The executor’s compensation is often a part of this creditor claim and is paid before beneficiaries receive their portion of the inheritance.

 

Can an Executor Get Reimbursed for Expenses?

Does the executor of a will get paid?It depends on the situation.

Administration fees are the costs associated with the estate settlement process, including Court and legal fees.

As mentioned above, creditors must be satisfied in the correct order once an estate has been opened. The administration fees, considered the 3rd creditor on the list to be satisfied, will be paid after funeral expenses and year’s support.

Often, an Executor can ask to be reimbursed for certain expenses from the estate if the Court has appointed them as the executor. These are out-of-pocket expenses that the executor had to pay before the estate funds were available.

The executor may ask for the reimbursement of such expenditures even if the will states that he should not receive payment or if the latter has waived compensation.

The types of costs that qualify for reimbursement are:

  • Funeral debts or costs.
  • Office supplies, travel expenses, postage.
  • Utilities, mortgages.
  • Professional fees – accountants, estate attorneys, appraisers.

To ensure that an Executor is asking to be reimbursed for proper expenses, it is best practice to have an experienced Probate and Estate Attorney assist you through this process.

Can an Executor Reject Compensation?

Yes, if an Executor does not want to receive payment for serving as an Executor, they can waive the compensation.

Sometimes, family members named executors choose to refuse the executor fees they may be entitled to, mainly if they are also beneficiaries of the will. Usually, executor fees are taxable income, and will bequest may be exempted from taxes.

However, it is recommended to consider all the details when rejecting the payment because serving as executors or personal representatives is a complex task. And it requires lots of time and effort.

How Much Does an Executor Get Paid If There’s More Than One?

If the will specifies a certain amount of compensation for each executor.

Each executor will receive the amount indicated in the will. The will may state different executor’s fees for each of them.

If the will says that the Executors are not to be paid for their roles as Executors.

They receive no compensation for their services.

If the will does not specify compensation for the Executors or the will is silent on Executor compensation.

The Executors will be compensated according to GA’s probate law and will split the compensation equally.

How Long Does the Executor Have to Pay the Beneficiaries?

The time that it can take an executor to finish settling an estate can vary depending on many factors, including the number of heirs and beneficiaries involved, the complexity of the estate, and if there are any family probate disputes.

Georgia has no dedicated timeline that states that the executor must pay the beneficiaries by a specific date.

A simple non-dispute estate in Georgia is usually settled in 12-18 months but can take longer, depending on particular circumstances.

If an heir or beneficiary feels that the executor is taking too long to settle the estate and pay beneficiaries, he can ask for legal advice. Our probate team is ready to assist them; contact our office at (770) 796-4582 and schedule a consultation.

Download the Georgia Probate Handbook.

Learn Important Probate Essentials, including key things that go wrong in an estate, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.

    About the author

    Erik J. Broel
    Founder & ceo

    Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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