How Much Does an Executor Get Paid in Maryland?

The executor of someone’s estate is the person responsible for making sure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out in the way they would have wanted. They have to make sure that the estate is distributed according to the deceased’s will, and they may have to be the plaintiff in a wrongful death claim, if relevant. All of this means that serving as the executor of an estate can be a very time-consuming and busy process. Some people serving as executors may be wondering if they can get any financial compensation for their trouble.

In Maryland, executors get paid a “reasonable” fee. This rate is usually specified in the deceased’s will. However, Maryland does have an upper on what an executor is able to collect as a fee for their services.

For a free analysis of your situation, call our Maryland estate and trusts lawyers with Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.

Executor Pay in Maryland

The laws dictating pay for executors in Maryland are detailed in Md. Code, Ests. & Trs. Art., § 7-601. The statute first states that executors are entitled to get pay for their services. This is good to know.

Second, the court can determine that the compensation awarded to an executor by a will is not sufficient and contributes extra funds to the executor’s pay. This may come into play in instances where the deceased may not have had a lot of funds to throw around or when they simply forgot to budget for pay to the executor in their will. If they wish, the executor can also waive their compensation entirely.

Executor Pay Scales in Maryland

Maryland is somewhat unique in that it has a statute that specifically dictates how much executors are to be paid for their services under certain circumstances. These payments are called commissions and are given out by the court to executors for their work.

The standard rate for these commissions is detailed in Md. Code, Ests. & Trs. Art., § 7-601(b)(2). If the estate being administered by the executor is valued at $20,000 or lower, then the commission the executor receives is 9%, or $1,800 max. However, if the estate being administered by the executor is valued to be over $20,000, then the executor is entitled to a commission of $1,800 plus 3.6% of whatever the amount over $20,000.

For example, if an executor was managing an estate valued at $50,000, they would receive a total commission of $2,880. This amount comes from the $1,800 from the first $20,000 combined with the 3.6% of the remaining $30,000 ($1,080) to get the final amount of $2,880.

Evaluating the value of a deceased person’s estate can be tricky, so it can be hard to know exactly what an executor should get as a commission in some cases. If you have questions or concerns on this matter, you should discuss it with our Annapolis, MD estate and trusts lawyers. We would be happy to assist.

There are also mechanisms in place if the executor believes that their pay is not adequate for their services. Under Md. Code, Ests. & Trs. Art., § 7-601(c), an executor may appeal to the court within 30 days to ask for them to determine whether the executor’s compensation for their services is up to snuff. If the court believes that compensation is not enough, they can give the executor more as a commission. However, the court can go above the statutory limits of 9% for $20,000 or less and 3.6% for anything over $20,000.

Should You Waive the Executor Fee in Maryland?

Md. Code, Ests. & Trs. Art., § 7-601(a)(3) makes it so that executors can waive their payment for their services if they so choose. The question then presents itself as to why an executor would ever do this. After all, acting as an executor is hard work; shouldn’t they be compensated for it?

Potential Bad Optics

One reason why an executor may waive their commission and fees is because they may believe that other relatives may feel it is unfair. This can be especially true if the executor is also a family member. After someone passes away, emotions will likely be raw, and that can translate to animosity because of incorrectly perceived favoritism.

However, in most cases, you, as the executor, should feel comfortable accepting financial compensation for your work. Acting as an executor is a very selfless and time-consuming act. As executor, you must keep the beneficiaries of the estate and their interest in mind at all times when you handle the estate. The executor must manage all of the deceased’s assets, liabilities, potential debts, finances, and many other things. The deceased may have even hand-picked the executor because they believed them to be right for the job.

Because of all the work that goes into being an executor for someone’s estate, you should strongly consider all of your options and circumstances before waiving your payment for your services.

Sole Beneficiary

Another reason that you may want to waive your fee as executor is if you are the sole beneficiary of the will. This is primarily for tax purposes. Your payment for your services as executor of the state is considered taxable income, while what you inherit from the estate will not be taxable. Thus, it does not make a lot of sense to take part of some money you will get that is not taxable and then make it able to be taxed.

Talk to Our Maryland Estate and Trusts Lawyers Today

Rice, Murtha, and Psoras have Glen Burnie, MD estate and trusts lawyers ready to help you with your situation when you call us at (410) 694-7291.