Executor duties in Texas typically include collecting and compiling an inventory of the estate assets, settling all outstanding debts, taxes and other expenses, and distributing the estate according to the decedent’s wishes. Under state law it is deemed reasonable to charge a fee for these services. Some states provide specific guidelines for the compensation an executor should receive for settling an estate, but Texas isn’t one of them. However, the Texas Estates Code does lay out some rules for executors’ fees.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Under Texas law, an executor of an estate is entitled to a commission of 5 percent of the value of the estate. If this is not sufficient for the amount of work involved in handling the estate, the executor can apply to the court for a higher fee.
Terms of the Will
If the decedent leaves detailed instructions in his will for how he wants his executor to be paid, those wishes take priority over any law – even if the will states that the executor should receive no compensation. The will might set a specific fee or say that the executor should receive a percentage of the estate.
Executor Fees in Texas
If the will does not provide instructions for payment of the executor, Texas law applies. The standard executor compensation in Texas is a 5 percent commission on all amounts that the executor receives or pays out in cash in the administration of the estate. This means the executor is entitled to 5 percent of all money the estate takes in, as well as any necessary expenditures, such as the payment of debts. However, standard executor compensation does not apply to cash or cash held by the decedent in a checking account, savings account or other account at the time of death.
Under Texas law, the court has the power to award reasonable compensation to an executor if the executor manages a farm, ranch, factory or other business of the estate or the compensation calculated under standard executor compensation is deemed to be unreasonably low. This means an executor can apply to the county court for more than 5 percent in fees, but she must show that her request is reasonable, for example if dealing with the estate is particularly complex or time-consuming.
Denial of Compensation
If the court finds that an executor has not managed the estate with the appropriate amount of care and vigilance, it may deny the executor all or part of the commission. This may be done as a result of an application to the court by an interested party, such as a relative of the decedent.
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