Any person who is appointed in the role of personal representative or executor has the ability to claim compensation for the services they provide. Delaware is no exception to this but it is important for both executors as well as beneficiaries of an estate to understand how this can potentially influence them.
Don’t wait to get legal help if you were recently appointed- you have a lot of jobs to take care of at this point need help keeping these straight.
The Job of an Estate Executor
Delaware refers to estate executors as personal representatives. It is important to note that many of the same responsibilities carried out by a personal representative reflect other state definitions of executor. Each state has their own approach to how an executor can claim payment. Certain states, for example, allow an executor to receive payment based on the overall size of the estate, which at its base assumes that the more complex the estate, the more the executor has to do to process it. Delaware statutes, however, determine that executor compensation must be reasonable. If you are concerned that an executor has crossed the line or has engaged in questionable practices, you may need to consult with an experienced Delaware executor fees lawyer to determine your next steps.
You could challenge the basis of compensation that the personal representative is requesting if you have evidence to show that this is not reasonable. Consideration is given to multiple factors in deciding whether or not a Delaware personal representative’s compensation is reasonable. This includes time limitations, the experience and capabilities of the person who took on this role, the size of the estate, compensation that is customarily charged for similar services in the community and the nature of the work involved.
The statutes in Delaware also explain that fees are not considered unreasonable simply because they may be based on hourly rates and the time that the executor claims he or she served in this role. Furthermore, these fees are not considered unreasonable if they were exclusively based on the total of the probate estate or only on the valuation of the assets that are taxable within the estate.
How Most Delaware Executors Charge
As an executor fees attorney in Delaware can tell you, many executors use a services-rendered approach to bill by the hour. The factors named above can be used to help determine the hourly rate that should be charged. Executors can also set fees like the percentage of the overall estate value. It is critical for anyone serving in the role of executor to understand that it is powerful to keep records of your efforts in any event that you need to justify the fee in court. Some of the recommendations to include in the explanation of your services are:
- The hourly rate for the task.
- The total amount of time working on a specific task.
- The nature of the task itself.
- Any results that were able to be achieved as a result of that task.
Calculators can also be used to give you a general baseline of the amount that a Delaware executor might charge in handling estate administration. For example, if a state required 200 hours of standard work and the fee for that $100,000 estate is around $5000, that would be the appropriate amount to pay the executor. The executor will determine what he or she is to be paid based on all of the factors named above and their record keeping. Unless there is an objection to these fees being reasonable, the fees the executor decides to pay themself will be deemed automatically reasonable.
If you believe that an executor is requesting unfair payment or there are other concerns about the ethics they have engaged in during this process, you’ll need an executor fees lawyer in Delaware to guide you through this process. Executor fees can raise many different questions for beneficiaries and personal representatives alike. It is important to remember that this can shift family dynamics and can lead to delays in the administration of an estate due to court related hearings that must be scheduled. In all of these circumstances, it’s beneficial to have a Delaware executor fees attorney guiding you through the process.