How much does one receive for serving as executor?
In Oregon, the base executor fee is roughly 2% of the value of assets passing under the will, and roughly 1% of assets passing outside the will. See Oregon Revised Statute 116.173. For example, if the decedent owned a $1 million home (which passes under the will) and $700,000 of IRAs and life insurance (which pass outside the will), the fee would be roughly $27,000. The fee is not reduced by the decedent’s debts or mortgages. If the executor performs extraordinary services, additional compensation can be requested. The executor fee is not always commensurate with the amount of work involved. For example, very little work is involved in administering the estate of an elderly individual whose only asset is a $1 million brokerage account. On the other hand, countless hours might be needed to administer a $200,000 estate involving numerous creditors, delinquent tax returns, insufficient cash, hard-to-sell real estate, substantial clean up work, beneficiary disputes, etc.
Washington’s executor fee is not a fixed percentage. Instead, the executor is entitled to a “reasonable” fee. In general, reasonableness for an executor fee is based on the same criteria as attorney fees, including time required, difficulty, requisite skill, amount customarily charged in that community, size of estate, experience, etc. See RCW 11.68.100(2) and Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5(a).