Minnesota Probate Attorney Explains Compensation for a Personal Representative (Executor)
You’re having dinner with your brother when he suddenly says. “I need to ask you a favor. Will you be the executor for me if I die.”
Naturally, you respond with “Don’t be silly. You’re not going to die” to which he responds “Sis. I’m serious.” Of course you agree and forget about it until years later when he suddenly dies and you are now faced with having to navigate the legal minefield of probate. Can you get paid for handling the numerous things that come up when dealing with an estate?
Yes you can!
Your fee is (loosely) defined by Minnesota probate law stating “[a] personal representative is entitled to reasonable compensation for services.”
What does “reasonable” mean?
It’s not really clear. The courts have generally stated that they know an unreasonable fee when they see one. But, they have failed to provide guidance on what constitutes a reasonable fee. Because of this failure to define a reasonable fee, I often advise clients to set a flat fee in their will. For instance, your brother’s will may have said “my sister will receive $5,000 for acting as executor of my estate.”
Please keep in mind that the above is an explanation for payment to you for acting as Personal Representative. That is separate and apart for reimbursing you for any fees/costs you incur for the Estate. A personal representative is always entitled to be reimbursed for any expenses paid on behalf of the estate for legal fees, estate maintenance, and funeral costs.
Work with a Minnesota probate lawyer to ensure that you are getting paid a fair amount for the work you put in to handling an estate.