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Old 11-18-2022, 03:52 PM   #21
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When my FIL passed on, one of the kids "took" on the role as executor which was ~okay with the other kids/heirs... I remember him (the executor) saying he'd keep a detailed spreadsheet of all expenses and share it with everyone involved. And when it was all done he'd split the remaining amount evenly among the kids, as the will specified... We never saw a spreadsheet but my DW did get a chuck of the estate... Was it equal? We will never know.

Moral: If you are going to be an executor, especially if there is a written will involved, be as open and transparent as possible.
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Old 11-18-2022, 04:04 PM   #22
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I had no idea what I was getting into. Get an EIN number from IRS, open a checking account for the estate, move his money into it, decide where to park extra cash for a year, do his taxes, chase down the various life insurance policies, clean out the house, distribute the possessions, decide what to do with what nobody wanted, contract with a realtor, deal with contractors to ready the house for sale, sell the house, appraise and sell his coin collection, wait a year to distribute the cash, prepare the accounting of the estate for the county (to the penny), etc., etc. It adds up!
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Old 11-18-2022, 04:10 PM   #23
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I'll be the Executor for my Mother's estate. My Father passed about 2 years ago. Is there a guide to what the fee structure is for dealing with an estate of about $3.5M?
The work involved and the value of the estate are not necessarily related. I would suggest getting an attorney involved now. There may be opportunities for optimization.
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Old 11-18-2022, 04:25 PM   #24
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I see this as a few different question.

Q1. I spend my money on things like groceries, utilities, medical, etc. for my parents.

A1. For things like this I think it completely reasonable to be reimbursed from your parents, assuming they have the funds to reimburse you. Alternatively, if they don't, I think its reasonable for you to accumulate receipts and split the costs with your siblings.


Q2. Reimbursement for time spent doing the above.

A2. IMO, I'd never ask or accept money from my parent or my siblings for this. If they occasionally wanted to invite me to dinner or something like that fine. We do that for each other anyways.

Q3. Fee for being the executor of their estate.

A3. Again, IMO, no way. Now, being reimbursed for actual out of pocket expenses like filing fees, attorney fees, etc. is completely acceptable and should probably have been paid by the estate in the first place.


Personally, I consider this my repayment to my parents for the 18 years of direct care (everything from wiping my butt to driving me to high school football games) they did for me, the college they paid for, and then the next 40+ years of invites to holiday dinners, family vacations, etc. They never asked me for reimbursements, much less an administrative fee, for any of that.
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Old 11-18-2022, 04:38 PM   #25
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I am the designated executor for my Dad who turns 87 next months. Not looking forward to the job. May he live forever.
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Old 11-18-2022, 05:14 PM   #26
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I wouldn’t charge, but I have never done it before, but someday will. It could be a PITA, I guess it depends on the complexity of the estate. Any estimates on the amount of work (hours, days) it took?
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Old 11-18-2022, 05:33 PM   #27
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I was the executor of my dad's estate. I took $10/hour. That was a decade ago. I'm sure you could charge more if you wanted to -- the work is certainly worth more than 10 bucks an hour. I just didn't want to feel guilty about charging my siblings, so I kept my "fee" very modest. I let my siblings know, and of course they were fine with it. It didn't add up to much, but it kept me from feeling resentful. Being an executor can be a chore.
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Old 11-18-2022, 05:54 PM   #28
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I was the executor of my dad's estate. I took $10/hour. That was a decade ago. I'm sure you could charge more if you wanted to -- the work is certainly worth more than 10 bucks an hour. I just didn't want to feel guilty about charging my siblings, so I kept my "fee" very modest. I let my siblings know, and of course they were fine with it. It didn't add up to much, but it kept me from feeling resentful. Being an executor can be a chore.
Yeah, I wish the job on no one. A lot of work getting through all bureaucracy rules and regulations.
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Old 11-18-2022, 06:40 PM   #29
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I was the executor of my dad's estate. I took $10/hour. That was a decade ago. I'm sure you could charge more if you wanted to -- the work is certainly worth more than 10 bucks an hour. I just didn't want to feel guilty about charging my siblings, so I kept my "fee" very modest. I let my siblings know, and of course they were fine with it. It didn't add up to much, but it kept me from feeling resentful. Being an executor can be a chore.
Anyone begrudging you that should get coal in their stocking.

Yes, if the work was paid like a CPA would charge, that's the baseline. Anything less is pro-bono.
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Old 11-18-2022, 07:29 PM   #30
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I was 1/3 of a like size estate, and my cousin was the executor. He'd been looking over my aunt's business for about 10 years after senility reared its ugly face. She was 3 months short of 100 years old.

He asked that his 1/3 of the estate also include $20,000 for his time, and we agreed that it was reasonable. The attorney was a close friend of my aunt, and he handled the probate for far less than normal. The worse part was negotiating a buyout on a real estate partnership when the partners were both attorneys and CPA's.

Throw the subject at your siblings and see what they think your time is worth.
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Old 11-18-2022, 08:47 PM   #31
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Having gone through this for over 2 year so far, take every penny you're allowed! You're going to earn every penny of it. At least here in California, there's a set guideline based on the value of the estate including final sale of any real estate.

I took about 50% of what was allowed simply because the lawyer felt it was within reason. Realistically, it wasn't enough but it kept peace in the family. To this day they have no idea how much work was involved. I'm still dealing with the IRS over a $19. refund! It never ends!
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Old 11-19-2022, 05:22 PM   #32
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I had no idea what I was getting into. Get an EIN number from IRS, open a checking account for the estate, move his money into it, decide where to park extra cash for a year, do his taxes, chase down the various life insurance policies, clean out the house, distribute the possessions, decide what to do with what nobody wanted, contract with a realtor, deal with contractors to ready the house for sale, sell the house, appraise and sell his coin collection, wait a year to distribute the cash, prepare the accounting of the estate for the county (to the penny), etc., etc. It adds up!
I appreciate the many comments that have been posted. I am glad to help my parents with their care and maintenance. I simply have my mother pay for the groceries, service people and regular expenses. I don't and wouldn't consider charging for that time spent. Unfortunately it has contributed to curtailing my retirement traveling (Covid didn't help either).
That being said, the time I spend with their estate doing taxes, tracking down and filing the myrad of forms/signatures/mailings and dealing with less than helpful people at brokerages/banks/insurance agencies has been going on for 2 years. Probably 250 hours minimum if I guessed at it. My parents surprised me with being the executor and the estate has about 30 separate accounts at various brokerages/banks/insurance & annuities. With my mother still alive it has been a good amount of work. Trying to be fair but the extra time with the estate feels like it is work related to being an executor. Just trying to figure what the estate should be paying.
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Old 11-19-2022, 06:00 PM   #33
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My parents surprised me with being the executor and the estate has about 30 separate accounts at various brokerages/banks/insurance & annuities.
30 accounts is crazy. I would optimize while your mother is alive. Would you ever consider paying for help with things like with estate taxes?
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Old 11-19-2022, 06:02 PM   #34
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When I handled my parents estate, the attorney told me to keep track of the hours I spent doing tasks for the estate. He also said I shouldn't charge what an attorney did (he charged $500 an hour) but maybe a few hundred an hour. I realized I actually spent less time doing things, and more time thinking and worrying about what I did.

In the long run, I did not charge the estate anything. It would have impacted what my sister and I received much less than the grandchildren. I'm happy with my decision, but I did not make the decision until the end of the process.
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Old 11-19-2022, 06:32 PM   #35
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If one is executor for an estate to which you are also an heir, why would you charge a fee? It takes from the inheritance, and you have to report the fee as earned income and pay taxes on it?

I handled my fatherís estate with help from a local attorney and it never occurred to me to charge anything. I was in the 28% tax bracket at the time.
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Old 11-19-2022, 06:55 PM   #36
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Depends on how many heirs and how many accounts eh?

How about 20 heirs along with the 30 accounts?
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Old 11-19-2022, 07:54 PM   #37
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30 accounts is crazy. I would optimize while your mother is alive. Would you ever consider paying for help with things like with estate taxes?
It is crazy. 14 different bank accounts/CD/Annuities and Life insurances, 40 stock holdings with 8 different brokerages. I've consolidated the bank accounts/CD/ annuities & life insurance down to 6. The problem with the stock holdings is the LT capital gains if I sell them. Got all of them owned by their trust or with trust as benificiary.
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Old 11-19-2022, 08:01 PM   #38
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If one is executor for an estate to which you are also an heir, why would you charge a fee? It takes from the inheritance, and you have to report the fee as earned income and pay taxes on it?

I handled my fatherís estate with help from a local attorney and it never occurred to me to charge anything. I was in the 28% tax bracket at the time.
Thanks for the comment. Initially I didn't either but I've heard the argument for both sides and both my mother and siblings have mentioned the effort that has been required. My father left a number of things undone with their estate and my mother was not in the loop. Lot of trips to banks/medallion signatures and time on phone with brokerages & life insurance groups as well as trips to mail, etc.
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Old 11-20-2022, 01:58 PM   #39
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Over the past 15 years I have served as guardian and executor for my grandmother and for a great-aunt and also managing mother's finances which includes 2 different trusts and two different tax returns annually

I have never requested any compensation for any of this... I consider it a labor of love and payback for the good start in life that my family provided to me.

However, in both cases the estate beneficiaries and insisted that I be compensated but in each case it was only a couple thousand.

Luckily, I'm wealthy enough that I don't need the money. I think family members appreciate my efforts and that's good enough for me.
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Old 11-20-2022, 04:27 PM   #40
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It is crazy. 14 different bank accounts/CD/Annuities and Life insurances, 40 stock holdings with 8 different brokerages. I've consolidated the bank accounts/CD/ annuities & life insurance down to 6. The problem with the stock holdings is the LT capital gains if I sell them. ...
Can't you transfer the stocks in kind to just a few accounts, maybe just one? No realized gains if you transfer in kind.
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