Do you have questions about what it takes to be an estate executor in Indiana? Or are you an heir to someone’s estate and are concerned about assets being depleted when executor fees are taken out? Read on to learn more.
Serving as an estate executor requires a substantial commitment of someone’s time, expertise and willingness to handle any issues that arise over the course of probate. For this reason, in Indiana executors are entitled to receive compensation for the time they have invested. IN Code § 29-1-10-13. Many courts in Indiana do this when a reasonable hourly rate has been suggested by the appointed executor and when the hours make sense with the alleged work completed during that time.
One common approach to this is to understand how similar cases within the same region in Indiana have led to payment of executor fees. For example, if in the area it is common for an executor to receive between $15 and $30 per hour, it would be reasonable for a newly appointed executor to track their hours and match this as well.
Understanding the Role of Personal Representative
In Indiana, the estate executor is known as the personal representative. Just and reasonable fees can be charged by a personal representative as determined by the courts and multiple rulings have indicated that several factors need to be considered in determining the overall hours committed by an executor and the hourly rate they are requesting. This can include the skills required and the overall nature of the estate itself, compensation that has been similarly charged in other cases by executors, the overall size of the estate as it relates to the number of assets inside, and other complicating factors and how easy it is to market or value the assets inside.
Certain counties have gone one step further to allow for percentage charging. Those assets that pass outside of probate and go to named beneficiaries without having to go through the court system, like life insurance policy payouts and 401(k)s, will not be included in calculations and can also reduce the amount of time that an Indiana estate executor has to spend in probating the estate.
What Can Delay Probate in Indiana?
One aspect that can greatly increase the amount of time committed by an executor in managing this situation is the presence of will contest or other probate litigation cases. This is because the executor must then be involved by pausing everything in the administration of the estate and taking next steps to ensure that these claims are handled appropriately. This can slow down the distribution of any assets to creditors as well as to beneficiaries and can require the executor to be involved at a much deeper level than they previously thought. In all of these cases, it is beneficial to have the support of an experienced Indiana executor fees lawyer.
Not every county in Indiana, however, goes this far to ensure that there are clear rules about how an executor can be paid. This is one of the biggest reasons to retain experienced representation to guide you through the process and help you to keep track of all of the tasks that you undertake. Experienced legal counsel can help you be prepared for the potential of other family members arguing that the fees you have claimed are unreasonable.
Having good records and being able to pull up these documents and show the amount of work you have put in makes it that much easier to get paid for the work you have already completed and to minimize the possibility of any further delays in estate administration due to someone arguing you got overpaid for the work that you did. In these circumstances, you can greatly benefit from having the insight of an outside executor fees attorney serving Indiana to support you through the duration of gathering all of the assets inside the estate, inventorying them, contacting creditors and handling every other aspect of moving forward with it.