An executor’s fee is the amount charged by the person who has been appointed as the executor of the probate estate for handling all of the necessary steps in the probate administration. Therefore, if you have been appointed an executor of someone’s estate, you will be entitled to a fee for your services. This fee is set by Louisiana law at 2 1/2 percent of the gross estate. Sometimes an executor can seek compensation over and above that amount by a showing to the Court that extraordinary amount of work was done and that they Executor is owed more money. Keep in mind that the executor fee is income to the individual. An executor does not have to take a fee if they do not want to. Also, the person writing a will can direct in his/her will that the person serving as executor shall do so without compensation. Of course, the executor is always given the option to serve or not.
General Duties of an Executor
- Securing the decedent’s home (changing locks, etc.)
- Identifying and collecting all bank accounts, investment accounts, stocks, bonds and mutual funds
- Having all real estate valued; having all tangible personal property valued.
- Paying all of the decedent’s debts and final expenses
- Making sure all income and estate tax returns are prepared, filed and any taxes paid
- Collecting all life insurance proceeds and retirement account assets
- Accounting for all actions; and making distributions of the estate to the beneficiaries or heirs.
This list is not all-inclusive and depending upon the particular estate more, or less, steps may be needed.
As you can see, there is a lot of work (and legal liability) involved in being the executor of an estate. In Louisiana, the Executor has the sole authority to choose the attorney who will handle the estate. This is true even if the testator in their will named an attorney for the estate. The choice rests solely with the executor.
If you have been appointed an executor or have any other probate or estate planning issues, contact us for a consultation today.