Acting as the Executor of an Estate can be a demanding task, especially if the deceased had complicated business affairs and/or left a complex Will. So can an Executor charge for time and effort spent in administering an Estate? In short: Yes.
There are two basic types of payments an Executor may claim:-
- Professional fees for services provided to the Estate by the Executor acting in a professional capacity (i.e. accounting or legal services); and
- Commission for the Executor’s “pains and trouble” suffered as a result of acting as Executor of the Estate.
Many Wills will contain a clause which specifically allows an Executor to charge professional fees for work performed in his or her professional capacity in connection with the Estate.
If such a clause is present, an Executor will be able to recover payment for work performed in a professional capacity, provided that:-
- he or she renders the Estate with accounts for work performed; and
- the residual beneficiaries of the Estate (i.e. those whose share of the Estate will be diminished by the payment to the Executor) authorise such payment.
If there is no such clause present in the Will, an Executor cannot charge the Estate directly for professional fees. An Executor may, however, seek to have professional services provided to the Estate taken into account in a claim for commission under Section 86 of the Probate and Administration Act 1898 (“the Act”).
The Act provides that the Court may allow an Executor to be paid commission for “pains and trouble” as is “just and reasonable”.
Some factors the Court will look at when assessing how much (if any) commission to allow an Executor include:-
- The time spent by the Executor in performing the duties;
- The skill and responsibility displayed by the Executor;
- The success which attends the Estate’s administration etc.
An Executor is able to claim commission without going to Court, if the residual beneficiaries unanimously consent to the commission being paid.
If you are an Executor and need guidance, please contact the experienced team at Everingham Solomons because Helping You is Our Business.
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