Executor Compensation and Fees (PA)

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

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

In determining executor fees, the state of Pennsylvania uses the commonly accepted principle of "reasonable and just" compensation, and explicitly states that compensation may be based on a graduated percentage of the estate value.

In practice, this means that the fee may be calculated as an hourly rate (if you keep good records), as a flat fee, or as a percentage of the estate.

While there are no legal statutes that specify exact fee calculations, case law makes liberal reference to the "Johnson Schedule" court decision [4 Fid.Rep.2d 6, 8 (O.C. Del. Co. 1983)]. This schedule sets the fee to 5% on the first $100K of gross estate value, 4% on the next $100K, 3% on the next $800K, 2% on the next $1M, 1.5% on the next $1.5M, 1% on the next $1M, and 0.5% of the next $1M.

A lot has happened since 1983, of course, and here is the Johnson Schedule loosely adjusted for inflation:

  • 5.0% on the first $150K
  • 4.0% on the next $150K
  • 3.0% on the next $1.2M
  • 2.0% on the next $1.5M
  • 1.5% on the next $1.5M
  • 1.0% on the next $1.5M
  • 0.5% on the next $1.5M

So, for example, a normal Pennsylvania estate worth $50K would yield $2.5K in executor fees, and one worth $600K would generate $22.5K in executor fees.

Assets that pass directly to named beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies or 401Ks, are generally not included in these calculations.

See Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 20 § 3537.

PA Compensation Calculator

EstateExec provides the following executor compensation estimator for PA estates, but please keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for PA 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 (using the Johnson schedule adjusted for inflation); 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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