The Complete Guide to Georgia Executor Fees

 

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Understanding Georgia Executor Fees

A Georgia executor fee is governed by a specific set of rules, although it can also be stated in the will if no fees are to be paid. Learn everything you need to know about executing an estate here.

Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Faulkner Law, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on September 17, 2020.

Among the most common questions about serving as the executor of an estate is whether an executor earns money for administering a decedent’s estate, often followed by “If so, how much?”

The bottom line is this: whether through specific will arrangements or state law, an executor is usually entitled to compensation. Georgia’s probate executor fee is generally paid from the probate estate fund, but the exact amount an executor can expect to receive from this fund depends on the situation.

Understanding GA executor compensation can be complicated, so it’s always best to speak with a lawyer experienced in probate law to understand how the rule applies to your particular circumstance. Applying unparalleled passion, experience, and diligence to every case, Faulkner Law is dedicated to helping Georgia families with legal advice and help them navigate every step of the will and probate process, including the topic of executor compensation. Learn more about our law firm and how we can help below.

Why Does an Executor Get Paid?

When a person dies in Georgia without appointing an executor, the spouse may have the priority to be appointed as an administrator. If there is no will and they were married when one of them died, then the surviving partner has priority over other family members to be appointed as the estate personal representative and have a share in the estate assets of the late spouse. They are called personal representatives if named by someone else with a last will or testament before death; otherwise referred to as administrators due to not having been designated on paper beforehand.

However, if the will has details of executor compensation, the executor will have the specific amount of it as per the will. In this case, the executor won’t be able to receive additional compensation.

The personal representative has to take an oath and promise to act in the estate’s best interest. After that, the probate court will issue Letters of Administration (if the court has appointed an administrator) or Letters Testamentary (if the executor was named in the will). This document will give the personal representative the authority to fulfill their duties.

 

The executor of an estate is responsible for numerous tasks throughout the often-lengthy probate in Georgia. These mostly involve taking charge of settling an estate and carrying out the wishes of the deceased person as outlined in their Last Will & Testament in Georgia. However, if the probate is necessary, the probate court will formally appoint the executor as a personal representative of the estate.

If you are looking for legal advice on estate administration, tax returns, or any other estate-related issue, consult with our best estate planning lawyers. We provide legal advice on every aspect of dealing the real property.

 

What Is the Role of a Personal Representative?

An executor’s main responsibilities consist of:

  • Opening probate with the probate court by submitting a Petition for Probate
  • Locating the deceased’s assets
  • Notifying heirs and interested parties
  • Handling the administration of the estate
  • Determining and paying the deceased’s financial obligations from the estate’s funds
  • Dispersing the properties to beneficiaries
  • Closing the estate by informing the probate court

However, if there is not enough money to pay debts, the personal representative has to prioritize claims by following state probate law. In that case, the surviving spouse and children younger than 18 are paid first and have a right to a full year’s support.

 

When You Don’t Need To Attend the Probate Court

The probate court process is not always necessary. Usually, assets have to go through probate only if the deceased person owned them in their name alone. If that is not the case, assets and inheritance can most likely be transferred to the new owners.

Assets that don’t have to go through probate include:

  1. assets owned in joint tenancy
  2. assets for which a beneficiary has been named outside the will
  3. life insurance policies payable to a named beneficiary
  4. assets that are held in a revocable living trust

In addition, if the deceased person didn’t leave a will, there are no debts, and all heirs agree on how inheritance and assets should be distributed, the probate court may state that no probate is necessary.

To properly complete these tasks, the executor will typically need the help of a probate lawyer. The executor is entitled to compensation for this and other expenditures in addition to administrative charges that correspond to a particular percentage of the estate. A fee also helps compensate personal representatives for the considerable time and energy they invest in carrying out these duties.

Why Does an Executor Get Paid

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Understanding Georgia Executor Fees

Georgia’s probate executor fees are generally paid from the probate fund. The exact sum of funds that an executor can expect will depend on the situation. Understanding the Georgia executor’s compensation can be complicated. Therefore it is always best to speak with a probate legal counsel who understands what statutes apply.

To learn more about our law firm – Faulkner Lawand how we could help you navigate every step of the will and probate process in Georgia, feel free to book a free consultation with us.

Executor Fees By Georgia Estate Law

Under Georgia estate law, an executor might serve with or without payment as directed in the will. If the will does not state anything about the executor’s fees, then the administrator will be compensated according to the default guidelines of Georgia probate law.

 

Determining Executor of Estate Fees in Georgia

If executor compensation is discussed in the will, it might set a particular amount or determine a formula or other technique of calculating the executor’s fees. If that holds true, then he or she will be compensated exactly as the will directs — no more and no less.

The will might likewise specify that the executor will serve without pay. In that case, he or she will not receive any compensation at all.

If you’re creating a will, you have the option of determining precisely how you wish to compensate your executor. If you decide not to do this, you will want to be well-informed on the process used by the probate court in GA to determine reasonable compensation. That way, you can have a clear idea of just how much of your estate will go to your executor. This enables you to prepare your bequests appropriately.

 

What Percentage Does the Executor of an Estate Get?

Georgia’s estate law requires a 2.5% commission with the proceeds from the estate. This amount does not include a real estate value nor shares and bonds unless either has been sold. Generally, an executor could be allowed 10% of all interests of the estate or 3% of non-monetary assets distributed to beneficiaries while they still are not sold until. A substantial amount of money can be added according to the size of the estate and the size of the assets. A bigger estate, however, means a larger workload for executing executors and a greater need for a Georgia probate expert.

What Is the Executor’s Commission in the State of Georgia?

If the will is silent regarding executor compensation or if it recommends that the executor be compensated based on Georgia probate law, there is a particular plan laid out in the law to determine the executor’s commission. 

 

What Percentage Does the Executor of Estate Get?

If the will fails to mention the executor’s commission, Georgia estate law mandates a 2.5% commission of all money brought into the estate and 2.5% percent of all money paid or distributed out of an estate. Surprisingly, this amount does not include the value of the real estate or stocks and bonds unless either is sold by the executor. 

The executor might also receive 10% of any interest earned by the estate. Additionally, by petitioning the proper probate court in Georgia, the administrator may be entitled to an added compensation of up to 3% of the value of non-money assets, such as real estate, stocks, and bonds, that are distributed to beneficiaries without being sold.

Depending upon the size of the estate and the overall quantity of assets, these fees can add up to a considerable amount of money. However, a bigger estate means more work for the executor and a greater need for support from a lawyer experienced in Georgia probate matters.

Executors Commission in Georgia

Georgia Executor Compensation Lawyer

Executor Commission Calculator

The easiest way to estimate the executor commission is to apply the above percentages to the total applicable estate amounts. For example, a Georgia estate with $100K in money and $300K in dispersed assets would produce approximately $14K in administrator fees.

A few points to keep in mind:

  • Specific assets with named beneficiaries (such as Individual Retirement Accounts) are not included in these computations.
  • Money lent by and paid back to the executor should not be included in an executor commission calculation.
  • If taxes on earnings need to be withheld, the withheld amount still counts as money received.
  • Generally, the bigger the estate, the smaller the distribution fee percentage will be, with estates normally reaching the millions before this portion begins to drop.
  • If the will defines a smaller amount than the standard, the executor can petition the probate court to get the statutory amount instead.

 

If there are several executors, the fee must be divided according to services rendered. In the case of successive executors, the fee must also be divided according to services rendered, but the hand-off of money and property between executors of wills is not included in calculations.

How Can You Calculate Executor Fee in Georgia?

While you can generally come up with a rough estimate of Georgia executor compensation on your own, knowing exactly what the amount will be in your situation requires the assistance of a top-rated Georgia estate planning and probate law firm.

Determining the exact amount of an executor fee is not always easy, especially where there are issues about whether an administrator has acted in the best interests of the estate or in instances of unusually large estates with several moving parts. These types of calculations can be complicated, so it’s always best to work with a skilled estate planning attorney in Marietta, GA, to make sure that all involved are compensated fairly.

Ask An Attorney About Georgia Probate Executor Fees

Serving as an executor is no easy job. In spite of this, many people named as executors begin the process believing they can manage their duties without aid. As time goes on and the responsibilities required of them grow more complicated, many realize that they require the assistance of an expert Georgia wills, trusts, and estate attorney.

The need for an attorney’s guidance holds especially true when it comes to Georgia probate law as well as executor’s fees. Calculating your commission is all too time-consuming, and determining whether you even want to be paid for your duties can be a challenging decision. Whether you’re interested in exploring your options or actively executing a loved one’s will, Faulkner Law is here to serve as your trusted legal advocate.

 

Book a FREE Consultation for Legal Advice

We know how personal these matters can be, and no matter what you’re going through in the will and probate process, we can help. Standing among the top estate planning law firms in Atlanta, we have the skills and experience to help you make the right decisions for your estate and your loved ones. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Ask An Attorney About Georgia Probate Executor Fees

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