Executor Compensation and Fees (ON)

Executor Compensation Cash Register

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

In Ontario, the estate executor is known as an "estate trustee".

Ontario law specifies only that compensation should be "fair and reasonable for the care, pains and trouble, and the time expended in and about the estate".

Courts have subsequently interpreted this to equate to an amount based on:

  • 2.5% of receipts and disbursements
    (i.e., everything flowing in and out of the estate)
  • 0.4% of average estate value per year
    (if not quickly distributable)

So, for example, an estate that took in $100,000 and disbursed $120,000 (for example due to capital gains) would normally generate $5,500 in trustee fees.

Courts have further ruled that the normal tariff amount should then be adjusted (up or down) as necessary to make it "reasonable and fair", considering:

  • Size of the estate
  • Care and responsibility involved
  • Time required
  • Skill and ability demonstrated by the trustee
  • How successful the trustee was

All else being equal, the larger the estate, the smaller the percentage fee, and the more effort and results, the greater the percentage.

Note that assets which pass directly to named beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies, are generally not included in these calculations.

Additionally, "special fees" may be awarded to compensate extra or specialized work performed by the estate trustee. Common interpretations of "extraordinary" include overseeing the sale or lease of real estate, running a business, conducting litigation, preparing tax returns yourself, unusual amounts of required travel, handling tax audits, and so on.

Reference Trustee Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. T.23 § 61 and Denton's Review of Estate Trustee Compensation.

ON Compensation Calculator

EstateExec provides the following executor compensation estimator for ON 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. See estimation methodology for calculation details.

You can use this calculator now, but if you use EstateExec to help you track the settlement process, it will automatically analyze your estate and suggest values for the Receipts and Disbursements fields below (you can create an estate for free).

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See also Compensation for general remarks on executor compensation.

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