Executor Compensation and Fees (DC)

If the will does not specify how executor compensation should be calculated, DC estates must follow state compensation rules (see DC calculator below).

In the District of Columbia (DC), the estate executor is known as a "personal representative".

In determining executor fees, DC uses the commonly accepted principle of "reasonable" compensation, and says nothing further in the law. In practice, this means that the following factors are often considered:

  • Nature of the work involved (time, effort, difficulty, skills required)
  • Compensation customarily charged (in the community for similar services)
  • Size of the estate (and the results obtained)
  • Any time limitations
  • Experience and capabilities of the person

It's common in DC (also known as WDC), to set fees as a percentage of the overall estate value or to use a "services-rendered" approach, and bill by the hour (the hourly rate can be determined according to the factors above). When submitting your fee request to the court, SCR-PD Rule 124 requires you to express the fee as a percentage of the estate, AND to list the number of hours you spent working on the estate. Whatever approach you decide, it is important that you keep detailed records of your efforts in case you need to justify your fee in court:

  • Nature of the task (e.g., Drove to bank to get medallion stamp for IBM stock)
  • Amount of time spent (e.g., 2 hours)
  • Hourly rate for the task (e.g., $35/hour)
  • Results (e.g., sold the car for Blue Book value)

To make all this a little more concrete, you can see that according to the calculator below, a DC estate worth $500K that required 425 hours of effort might generate $19K in executor fees. For a $1M estate that required 425 hours of standard work and 40 hours of professional labor on your part, $34K might be appropriate.

Even if a will specifies the compensation for the executor (and there is no contract with the decedent regarding compensation), the executor may renounce the relevant provision before being assigned executor, and be entitled to reasonable compensation.

See DC Code § 20–751.

DC Compensation Calculator

EstateExec provides the following executor compensation estimator for DC estates, but please keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for DC estates, and ultimately you must determine what would be reasonable for your particular circumstances. By using this estimator, you acknowledge that EstateExec provides any results as informational input only, not as legal advice, and cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies for, or misunderstandings about, any given estate.

Below EstateExec provides two compensation approaches: you can decide which, if either, is appropriate for you. The first uses a sliding percentage scale based on the total estate gross value (the larger the estate, the smaller the percentage) and its complexity; the second simply compensates the executor for the value of his or her time. See estimation methodology for details.

You can use this calculator now, but if you use EstateExec to help you track the settlement process, it will automatically calculate the inputs for you based on the estate and suggest those values in the fields below (you can create an estate for free).

An estimate using Estate Value

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Compensation:  $ -

An estimate using Executor Hours

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Compensation:  $ -
Average of both approaches:  $ -

See also Compensation for general remarks on executor compensation.

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