People often ask; what are the Executor fees in New Jersey? Serving as Executor, Administrator, or Personal Representative requires a lot of work and responsibility. Let’s take a look at the landscape of fees for serving in this important fiduciary role of a New Jersey estate.
Unlike neighboring Pennsylvania, the answer can be simple. The New Jersey legislature has enacted a series of statutes detailing an acceptable executor fee for an average estate when the testator has not specified otherwise. Keep in mind that, for drawn out, or complex estates, an executor may be entitled to greater compensation. As well, if an executor performs deficiently or if an estate is substantially easier than typical for its size, the court can reduce the claimed fee. With that in mind, let’s look at what the New Jersey legislature views as an acceptable fee for an estate of average difficulty.
Fair Executor Fees for an Average Estate in New Jersey
The total fee for an Executor in New Jersey is comprised of two sources: corpus commissions and income commissions. Corpus includes all the assets received by the executor upon the death of the decedent. The executor is entitled to charge a percentage-based fee scaled to the size of the estate. The commissions and percentages are as follows (N.J.S.A. 3B:18-14).
Hence, using this chart for an estate of average difficulty with a corpus of $1,000,000, the executor would be entitled to a $38,000 commission. ($38,000= (200,000x.05)+(800,000 * .035))
It follows that if you have an estate worth $4 million, an appropriate corpus commission would be $98,000. ($98,000= (200,000 * .05)+(800,000 * .035)+($3,000,000 * .02))
Income commission is earned on the income generated by the estate. An executor is entitled to receive 6% of all income received. (N.J.S.A. 3B:18-13) For example, if an estate receives $50,000 income from stocks and bonds held in a brokerage account. The executor would be entitled to $3,000.
So, in the $4 million estate example above, let’s assume that that $3 million is held in a brokerage account, receiving an annual return of 7%. In that case the executor’s compensation would be $98,000 + $12,600 = $110,600! ($12,600 = (3,000,000 * .07) *.06))
Additionally, for estates that last longer than one year, an executor may charge at the bare minimum 1/5th of 1% of the trust corpus each year as corpus commission.
Remember that these guidelines are for regular estates, administered correctly. If an estate is difficult and time-consuming, an executor may be entitled to greater compensation. Or, if there is mismanagement of an estate, the court has authority to surcharge the executor for an excessive fee.
As you can see, various factors come into play when determining an appropriate commission. We will update our blog with examples of cases where Executor of Estate fees in New Jersey have been challenged and upheld, or reduced as we find them.
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