Summary: Probating an estate can be complicated, detail-oriented, and time-consuming. An executor can be compensated for this work, either through the terms of the will or under a provision of Georgia law.
When you are doing a will, one of the first questions to arise is who to choose as the executor (also known as the personal representative.) In a very general sense, it is the executor’s job to round up all the assets of the estate, some of which may be hard to find; pay all the creditors of the estate, and then distribute to the beneficiaries. There will be court documents to be filed, possibly tax returns to be filed, lawyers and CPAs to be consulted, and possibly angry family members to deal with.
Clearly being chosen as the personal representative of an estate is a great honor. Much trust is being placed in the person chosen for the position. However, just as clearly, this honor comes with so much responsibility that it could reasonably be seen as a burden instead. Luckily, you can get paid for shouldering this responsibility.
Georgia law provides that the personal representative will be compensated for his or her work. O.C.G.A. § 53-6-60 details how much the person will be paid. In your will, you may choose how much the personal representative is paid, or choose to pay nothing.
If you don’t mention payment in your will, the default provisions include some difficult calculations which are best done by someone familiar with them. The representative is paid 2.5% commission “on all sums of money received by the personal representative on account of the estate, except on money loaned by and repaid to the personal representative” and 2.5% commission “on all sums paid out by the personal representative, either for debts, legacies, or distributive shares.” In addition, the representative can receive 10% of the interest made by the estate “if, during the course of administration, the personal representative shall receive interest on money loaned by the personal representative in that capacity.” There is also a 3% commission on some items “delivered in kind,” i.e. not sold by the estate, such a property turned over to a beneficiary.
The bigger the estate is, the more work it will be and the more the executor/personal representative will get paid. Knowing this may make you feel better when choosing someone for this important role (or make you feel better if you’re the one chosen for this role.) If you have additional questions or are interested in setting up an estate planning appointment, you can contact Siedentopf Law at (404) 736-6066 or via the contact form on our website.
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