When meeting with a Connecticut executor fees lawyer, it is natural to have questions about whether or not you can be compensated for the role you’ve played in estate administration. Under Connecticut law, executors are entitled to reasonable compensation. Likewise, as a beneficiary, you might also want further clarity on what is considered reasonable compensation and the rights that you have if you believe that an executor appointed in a loved one’s estate has overstepped their bounds. Note that per Rule 39 of the Connecticut Probate Court Rules of Procedure, it is up to the probate court to determine if a proposed fee is reasonable.
Executor Compensation in Connecticut
Each state is responsible for determining the fees that they allow an executor to charge for the process of estate administration. The state in which the deceased lived will be the important location for determining the rules that apply. There are no specific and hard set rules about executor compensation in Connecticut, however, but a rule of thumb is often referred to by many Connecticut judges to determine what is considered reasonable or not.
Most people in Connecticut will classify reasonable as between 3% and 5% of the total estate value and fiduciary fees of under 4% are generally considered reasonable by Connecticut probate judges.
How to Charge as an Executor?
As a Connecticut executor fee lawyer can tell you, some people use a services rendered approach when serving as a fiduciary or estate executor. Fees are determined based on the effort involved in the tasks completed, the nature of that work, the results and benefits this leads to the heirs and the professional background of the executor. This can vary tremendously and can mean that from one estate to another, the overall fee charged by the executor is quite different. When an executor has submitted a proposed fee to the Connecticut courts, the court may ask for further details about the estate overall, including the time required, the results obtained, the character of the work, the overall responsibilities of the executor, the total estate size, the manner and promptness of completion and the skills, judgment and knowledge required. The court does have discretion in determining what is considered reasonable. The court can approve or disapprove any amount per Connecticut rules of procedure rule 39, which creates the reasonableness standard.
Factors that a court will consider include:
- Size of the estate
- Responsibilities involved
- Type of the work required;
- Special problems and difficulties involved in the process
- Results achieved, such as increase in the value of the estate
- Knowledge, skill and judgment required to complete the task
- Manner and promptness in which the matter was handled
- Length of the process
An executor who has requested unreasonable fees may have their request denied. Executors are entitled to receive compensation for tehri work because it often involves long hours and comprehensive services. Some beneficiaries might not realize that it is well within the bounds of the law for a Connecticut executor to charge a fee for the work they have completed. The percentage paid out to an executor is taken from the total assets of the estate that go through the probate process. Remember that as an executor, not every asset owned by the decedent at the time of their death necessarily gets calculated into this overall fee. Life insurance policies and payable on death accounts, for example, are not included in the estate calculation.
The larger the estate, however, the larger the fees that can be collected by the executor for those estates that use the percentage method. Connecticut uses the reasonableness standard to evaluate the complexity of the estate. Executor fees will also depend on who the executor is, particularly because if it was an appointed family member or friend, they may wish to decline getting paid altogether or will collect fewer fees as a result of also being a beneficiary of the estate. In all of these circumstances, it’s beneficial to retain the services of an experienced executor fees attorney in Connecticut.