If a family member or friend asked you to be the executor of their estate, you may have been perfectly willing to do it for free – especially if you’re one of the beneficiaries. However, if that time has arrived, you’ve likely already realized that it can be a time-consuming, difficult and stressful job, even when there’s a well-crafted estate plan in place.
It’s important to know that under the law, executors are due compensation and that it comes out of the estate as a whole rather than the executor’s (or any specific) inheritance. Generally, if an estate plan is developed with legal guidance, it will address executor compensation.
However, even if it doesn’t for some reason, you’re still entitled to it. The same is true if a probate court appoints you the executor of an estate for a loved one who died without a will or because the named executor couldn’t or chose not to take on the job..
How is executor compensation calculated under Oklahoma law?
Executor compensation is based “upon the amount of the whole estate …excluding all property not ranked as assets, as follows:”
- 5% for the first $1,000
- 4% for the next $5,000
- 2.5% for the amount above $6,000
If there’s more than one executor, the compensation is divided between or among them.
It may be possible to seek additional compensation from the probate court if you believe it’s warranted based on the complexity, unforeseen circumstances or expenses you’ve had to take on as you administer the estate.
Don’t waive the compensation without some consideration
Before you decide to waive executor compensation, it’s a good idea to decide if it’s better for you financially to leave the money in the estate, how much it will affect your inheritance and what it will mean for your income taxes if you take it. (It’s reportable as income.) Don’t let any other beneficiaries pressure you not to take what is rightfully yours to compensate you for your time and efforts.
If you believe you warrant additional compensation because you’ve had to deal with battling family members, pay some expenses yourself or take some time off work to handle your responsibilities, don’t hesitate to make your case to the court. It’s a good idea to have legal guidance if you have questions or concerns.