As anyone who has ever acted as an executors commission knows, the work involved is significant and time-consuming. Moreover, it can be stressful and even emotionally taxing. For this reason, many people choose to include a clause in their Will allowing their Executors to waive commissions in exchange for serving.
However, if the deceased did not leave such a clause, and no other family member or close friend was willing to act, beneficiaries can make an application to court for commissions. The decision to award commission is up to the court, and they will consider the following:
The first factor in determining executors commission is the value of the estate. The fee is calculated as a percentage of the corpus. Corpus refers to the value of everything that has come into the estate since the death of the decedent. This includes assets such as real property, stocks and bonds and cash.
Understanding Executors’ Commission: A Guide to Compensation for Estate Executors
Sometimes an estate is large enough that the executor must apply for a higher fee, and the court will assess whether the applicant deserves the higher fee. This is not an automatic process, and the court will look at the accuracy of the executors accounts, the extent to which they have benefited from the estate, and allegations of misconduct.
Another factor that the court will consider is whether the estate has more than one fiduciary in charge. If the deceased named more than one person to act as executor, the total fees owed must be split according to the services rendered by each fiduciary. In New York, this may be determined by a rate set out in the Will or by applying the State fiduciary fee schedule.