I did a little checking and found the fee is from the probate
code. I knew it was from a code but couldn't remember the section.
Section 241 of the Texas Probate Code provides that Executors are entitled to a commission of five per cent (5%) on all sums that actually receive in cash, and five per cent (5%) on all sums they pay out in cash. This seems simple enough, but on further examination of Section 241, you will find that “sums received” does not include cash received that was on deposit in a financial institution, life insurance proceeds, certificates of deposit and similar items. In addition, “sums paid out” does not include distributions to beneficiaries of the estate.
If the executor conducts a sale of property of the estate, the five per cent (5%) will apply unless a broker was used who is also being paid a commission. Thus, on the sale of a home where a broker was used and was paid a commission, the executor is not entitled to a commission as well. Where publicly-traded stock is sold in a brokerage account, and the broker receives a commission on the transaction, the executor receives no compensation.
The general rule of thumb is that the compensation will equal 5% of the income and 5% of the expenses of the estate. Sometimes this is adequate compensation, and sometimes it is not. If the executor feels the compensation is too low, he can always petition the probate court to consider additional compensation to be paid under Section 241.
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