The amount a personal representative of an estate in Georgia gets paid depends on what the will says, what the beneficiaries agree to, or what Georgia law says.
The Terms Of the Will Or a Written Agreement Can Determine What a Georgia Personal Representative Is Paid
Georgia Code § 53-6-60(a) says that:
Personal representatives shall be compensated as specified in either the will or any written agreement entered into prior to the decedent’s death or a written agreement signed by all the beneficiaries of a testate estate or all the heirs of an intestate estate. A written agreement between a testator and a personal representative shall be valid and binding upon the estate of the testator as fully and completely as if set forth in and made a part of the will.
Therefore, if the will says that the personal representative is not be paid a cent for administering the testator’s estate, then the personal representative will likely not receive any compensation.
In some cases, the beneficiaries of the estate or the heirs of an intestate estate might feel that a personal representative is entitled to be paid for their work. In this case, the beneficiaries or heirs (as the case may be) can enter into a written, signed agreement that agrees on an amount that the personal representative of the estate will be paid.
What If the Will Does Not Say What the Personal Representative Should Be Paid?
If the amount that the personal representative should be paid is not addressed in the testator’s will, then Georgia law sets forth what compensation the personal representative is entitled to. Georgia Code § 53-6-60(b) provides the following fee schedule:
- Two and one-half percent commission on all sums of money received by the personal representative on account of the estate, except on money loaned by and repaid to the personal representative, and 2 1/2 percent commission on all sums paid out by the personal representative, either for debts, legacies, or distributive shares;
- Ten percent commission on the amount of interest made if, during the course of administration, the personal representative shall receive interest on money loaned by the personal representative in that capacity and shall include the same on the return to the probate court so as to become chargeable therewith as a part of the corpus of the estate;
- Reasonable compensation, as determined in the discretion of the probate court and after such notice, if any, as the court shall direct, for the delivery over of property in kind, not exceeding 3 percent of the appraised value and, in cases where there has been no appraisal, not over 3 percent of the fair value as found by the judge, irrespective of whether delivery over in kind is made pursuant to proceedings for that purpose in the probate court and irrespective of whether the property, except money, is tangible or intangible, personal or real; and
- In the discretion of the probate court, compensation for working land for the benefit of the parties in interest in no case exceeding 10 percent of the annual income of the property so managed.
In plain English, under Georgia law a personal representative is to be paid:
- 2.5% of cash received
- 2.5% of cash disbursed
- a reasonable fee not to exceed 3% of the value of other assets disbursed
- 10% on all interest earned on money loaned to the estate by the executor
A Georgia Personal Representative Can Be Paid Extra For Extraordinary Services
A Georgia personal representative can also receive additional compensation for “extraordinary services.”
Extraordinary services might include the sale of real property, running the decedent’s business, and preparation of tax returns. Extra compensation is addressed in Georgia Code § 53-6-62.
Why Does a Georgia Personal Representative Get Paid?
Being a Georgia personal representative is a serious responsibility, which is why Georgia law provides that a personal representative should be paid for handling the administration of a decedent’s estate.
The personal representative is required to administer the estate faithfully and in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Probate can take a long time, and a lot of effort by a personal representative. Therefore, a personal representative really should be paid for services rendered on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries.
A Georgia probate lawyer will be able to identify the assets that are used to determine the personal representative’s compensation, and help the personal representative prudently administer the estate.