Executor Fee Calculator (MO)

Updated Jul 12, 2024
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If the will does not specify how executor compensation should be calculated, MO estates must follow state compensation rules.

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How Much Should an Executor be Paid in MO?

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

If executor compensation details are not addressed by the will (or relief from those terms is granted by the court), then Missouri law determines minimum compensation based on the value of the standard estate assets at the time of disbursement or distribution, and the proceeds of any real estate sold under order of the probate court:

  • 5.0% on the first $5K
  • 4.0% on the next $20K
  • 3.0% on the next $75K
  • 2.75% on the next $300K
  • 2.5% on the next $600K
  • 2.0% on the anything more

So, for example, a Missouri estate worth $50K at the time of disbursement or distribution would yield a minimum of $1.8K in executor fees, and one worth $500K would generate at least $14K in executor fees.

These are minimum fees; additional executor compensation is permitted if needed to make it "reasonable", and such additional compensation need not be in response to "extraordinary" services.

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

If there are 2 or more executors, aggregate compensation may not exceed twice the schedule above, or 5% of the valuation as defined above, whichever is less. Exceptions are possible if extraordinary services were performed, or if property was required by the courts to be managed without being sold.

Extraordinary services are commonly interpreted to mean such things as running a business, conducting litigation, preparing tax returns yourself, handling tax audits, and so on. However, MO specifically precludes professional accountants from charging for their accounting services unless the will, the court, or the heirs allow it (presumably because the decedent expected the executor to use his or her skills in settling the estate).

Finally, 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 as per above.

See Missouri Revised Statutes, § 473.153.1.

MO Compensation Calculator

EstateExec provides the following executor compensation estimator for MO estates, but please keep in mind that circumstances may vary, and that there may be special situations addressed by local custom or law. 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.

You can use this calculator now, but if you use EstateExec to help you track the settlement process, it will automatically perform the sometimes complex calculations to provide inputs for the fields below (you can create an estate for free).

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Executor Compensation Considerations

Timing: Generally, any executor compensation is paid during the final stages of estate distribution, as one of the last things the executor does. Be careful in situations in which there is not enough to pay yourself and all other outstanding debts, as this may expose you to legal issues. However, in most states, executor compensation has precedence over almost all other debts (for example, in NY, only funeral expenses have a higher precedence).

Communication: You may wish to discuss your compensation with the other heirs early during the process, so they don't end up surprised and unhappy when they notice their shares are somewhat less than expected. You may also want to leave the door open to modify your planned compensation as the process unfolds and you determine how much or how little work will actually be required on your part.

Optional: Keep in mind that collecting executor fees is optional. Even if the will specifies compensation, or if state laws support specific fees, the executor can choose to forego that compensation, and many do. That being said, serving as an executor is A LOT of work, and there's a reason that state laws support such compensation.

Tax Optimization: One reason an executor might choose to forego explicit compensation is that executor compensation is taxable, while inheritances are generally not taxable. Consequently, if the entire estate (or a large portion of it) is going to be inherited by the executor, you may end up with more after-tax value if you forego executor compensation.

Trusts: Note that trustee compensation for managing a trust is handled differently than that of executor compensation for settling an estate (see Trustee Compensation).

Expense Reimbursement: In addition to compensation for his or her services, an executor is also entitled to reimbursement from estate proceeds for legitimate and reasonable estate administration costs, such as death certificate copies, notarization of documents, the EstateExec licensing fee, and even travel costs strictly associated with managing the estate. Once you have established an estate banking account, you can often pay for these costs directly from that account, so that no reimbursement is necessary, but you should keep good records in case you later have to justify your expenditures to the IRS or to estate heirs. Executor expenses can be reimbursed when desired, although certain probate proceedings may require prior approval. While executor expenses are generally not considered when calculating executor compensation (i.e., executor fees), if the executor incurs substantial costs paying for services that would normally be directly handled by an executor, a probate judge may sometimes require that the default executor fee be reduced accordingly.

Additional Information

See also the EstateExec Complete Executor Guide.

In case you're interested, see also Compensation for general remarks on executor compensation, and note that authoritative details about executor compensation in other states can be found here:

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