Executor May Collect Fee if Will Authorizes Payment

Dear Mr. Premack: In a previous article you stated that the executor could not legally charge a fee for “receiving funds…which were on hand or were held…in a financial institution or a brokerage firm.” Does that mean if there are 5000 shares of stock at a brokerage firm that the executor could not collect a fee on transferring those to the heirs? Would that also include sale of stock and cash distributed to the heirs? NKS

The statute is clear. Section 241 of the Texas Probate Code is the source for the quote that you included in your question. Handling the shares of stock held at a brokerage firm does not entitle the Executor to 5% of their value. Selling the stock and distributing the funds does not entitle the Executor to 5% of the value.

However, there is one very significant exception. If the Will itself authorizes a fee, then the terms of the Will apply instead of the terms of the statute. Sometimes a Will states “pay my executor a reasonable fee” or “pay my executor X percent of my gross estate” or similar instructions. If the Will has specific fee instructions, then the Executor’s handling of the stock may indeed entitle the Executor to a fee which could in part be based on the value of that stock.

Paul Premack is a Certified Elder Law Attorney practicing estate planning and probate law in San Antonio.

Original Publication: San Antonio Express News, November 25, 2011

#EstateAdministration #Executor #ExecutorFees #Probate

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Paul Premack has been a Board Member and has served as President of the Texas Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and is a Member of the Washington Chapter of NAELA. He is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation as accredited by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and the ABA. He is licensed to practice law in the States of Texas and Washington and handles Estate Planning and Probate in Texas and Washington, including Bexar County and King County Probate, Wills, Living Trusts, Durable and Medical Powers of Attorney, and Elder Law. Premack writes the legal column for the San Antonio Express News which is syndicated in other Hearst Newspapers around the USA.

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