Executor Compensation and Fees (MA)

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

In Massachusetts, the estate executor is known as a "personal representative".

In determining executor fees, the state of Massachusetts uses the commonly accepted principle of "reasonable" compensation, and says nothing further in the law. However, case law (McMahon v. Krapf in 1948) provides a bit more guidance, and says the following factors should be considered:

  • Nature of the work involved (time, effort, difficulty, skills required)
  • Compensation customarily charged (in the community for similar services)
  • Size of the estate
  • Marketable nature of the assets

You don't personally need to consider all these factors: you just need to come up with an approach that's reasonable. Below, EstateExec offers calculators to potentially help with this task, but keep in mind that regardless of your approach, it would be wise to keep a detailed record of your executor activities in case you later have 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, an MA estate worth $700K that required 800 hours of effort might generate $25K in executor fees (see calculator below).

If the will specifies a specific compensation, and you do not have a contract in place to serve as executor, you may renounce the compensation specified in the will if you do so before officially being appointed executor, and hence be entitled to reasonable compensation as described above.

See Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code §3-719.

MA Compensation Calculator

EstateExec provides the following executor compensation estimator for MA estates, but please keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for MA 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 used in various incarnations throughout the United States: 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); the second simply compensates the executor for the value of his or her time, and is the more common approach in MA. 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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