Chayet & Danzo, LLC Chayet & Danzo, LLC www.Coloradoelderlaw.com
Call for a Free Initial Consultation
Direct303-872-5980
Toll-Free 1-888-472-1088
Email Us
Compassion, talent and dedication: guiding colorado families and Their Trusted Advisors During Times of Need

Executor fees: What is the default in Colorado?

While working on your will, you probably spent time considering who was best suited to settle your estate. You asked the close friend or family member if he or she would act as an executor of your estate. But did you discuss executor fees?

This issue received some media attention last month after the executors of Leona Helmsley's estate submitted their bill for $100 million. Her executors included several grandchildren. Based on the amount of time the executors reported spending on estate matters, the equivalent hourly rate was $6,437. The office of the New York Attorney General called the bill "astronomical" and is seeking a 90 percent reduction.

While your estate may not be the same size as Helmsley's, you should still think about how you want to compensate your executor as part of the estate planning process.

Colorado law is the default

Because most wills are silent on the issue of executor fees, state law determines the fee. Some states base the fee on a sliding scale depending on the assets of the estate.

In Colorado, however, the law only specifies that executor fees need to be reasonable. What is reasonable varies on interpretation. For that reason, it is important to detail a fee arrangement. A provision that explains your wishes can even avoid future legal battles.

If you are asked to be an executor, discuss fees and consider taxes. A family member or friend, who is also a beneficiary, may not want any fees. This individual would have to pay tax on the fees collected in the role of an executor (considered ordinary income), while a bequest through the will might be tax-free.

Being an executor can be time-consuming and involve complicated legal issues. Some of the general duties include:

  • Collecting and valuing assets
  • Communicating with beneficiaries
  • Transferring property
  • Paying appropriate debts and taxes.

Not everyone is equipped to take on the responsibilities required of an executor. And often executors earn their fee. Whether you have questions about appointing an executor or what you need to do as named executor on a loved one's will, speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

Source: Dow Jones Business News, "Battle Involving Leona Helmsley Estate Spotlights Issue of Executor Pay - Getting Personal," Veronica Dagher, Jan. 28, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Watch Our Firm Video

We are the premier Elder Law firm in the Colorado region. We set ourselves apart from other law firms in the area with our talent, dedication, compassion and ability of our attorneys to handle any case in Elder Law. We serve Colorado families with experience and dignity in your time of need.

View More Videos

Denver Office
650 S.Cherry St., Suite 710
Denver, CO 80246

Phone: 303-872-5980
Fax: 303-355-8501
Denver Law Office Map

Edwards Office
105 Edwards Village Blvd.
#D-201
Edwards, CO 81632

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Edwards Law Office Map

Aspen Office
600 East Hopkins Avenue
Suite 301
Aspen, CO 81611

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Aspen Law Office Map

  • Rated by Super Lawyers Macro Chayet SuperLawyers.com
  • Rated by Super Lawyers Frank J. Danzo, III  SuperLawyers.com
  • Member National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. TM
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Elder Law
  • 2015 Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Multi-Year Winner
  • Our new 2015 Medicaid Book: how to protect your Family's Assets from devastating nursing home costs
  • Proud Sponsor 2015-Denver Colorado Senior Law Day
  • Peer Review Rated For Ethical standards & Legal Ability TM Martindale Hubbell
  • Haystack