An executor of an estate is the person named to act on behalf of the decedent. An executor has a fiduciary duty to ensure that the decedent’s wishes for the disposition of property and assets are carried out accordingly. In addition, the executor is responsible for the administrative process of an estate, including paying taxes and creditors. He or she must perform the following duties and responsibilities, among others:
- Probating the Last Will and Testament
- Marshalling assets
- Managing property
- Maintaining all necessary records
- Paying creditors
- Filing estate tax returns
- Preparing accounting reports
- Distributing assets to the intended beneficiaries
In exchange for performing these responsibilities, an executor is entitled to compensation from the estate. Under the New York State Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (NYSSCPA) §2307, an executor is entitled to receive a commission ranging from two to five percent of the probated value of a decedent’s estate. However, it is worth noting that life insurance policies that go to a named beneficiary, 401(k), or 403(b) accounts, among others, are not included in a decedent’s gross estate.
Under the NYSSCPA, an executor’s fee rate is as follows for receiving and paying out all sums of money not exceeding:
- $100,000 – 5%
- $200,000 – 4%
- $700,000 – 3%
- $4,000,000 – 2.1/2%
- Above $5,000,000 – 2%
In addition, a decedent is entitled to set forth his or her own previously decided fee scale with his or her designated executor, which would then supersede the NYSSCPA fee scale. For this reason, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who may assist with the estate planning process.
If you are an executor in the process of administering a decedent’s estate or if you are a testator who is planning for your future needs or the needs of your loved ones, an experienced New York estate planning attorney can give you the legal guidance necessary to achieve your goals. From the simple to the complex, the attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Clark are skilled in all aspects of estate planning and dedicated to representing their clients with diligence and compassion. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our New York estate planning lawyers at (516) 280-7105 or (631) 669-6300.