Anyone who has been an Estate Executor, or Personal Representative, can attest to the fact that there\u2019s a lot of work involved in administering an Estate. Even with the assistance of a skilled probate lawyer and an experienced tax accountant, an Executor still has many responsibilities to the Estate that are often time-consuming and challenging. Because of the effort involved, Alberta law provides for Executor compensation\u2014in other words, Estate Executors in Alberta are, in most cases, entitled to be financially compensated for the effort, expertise, and time that they put into administering a deceased\u2019s Estate. This article addresses two main questions concerning Executor compensation in Alberta: \tWhich circumstances entitle an Estate Executor to compensation? \tHow much compensation, if any, is the Executor entitled to in the circumstances? Did the Deceased Leave a Valid Will? If the deceased left a valid Will, it will, in most cases, decide the question of Executor compensation. Nearly every Will addresses the topic of Executor compensation in one of three ways: \tThe Will specifies how much compensation the Executor is entitled to receive\u2014this is typically a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the overall Estate value; \tThe Will states that the Executor is not entitled to compensation\u2014this is typically done in circumstances where the Executor is also an Estate beneficiary, or in circumstances where the Executor is a close loved one and the Will-maker believes that the Executor has a moral duty to act as Executor without receiving compensation for doing so; or \tThe Will is silent on Executor compensation\u2014in such circumstances, Executor compensation is determined in the same way it would be if the deceased neglected to leave a valid Will. If the Deceased Didn\u2019t Leave a Valid Will If the deceased didn\u2019t leave a valid Will, or if the deceased\u2019s Will is silent on Executor compensation, the Executor is still entitled to reasonable compensation. While an Executor can propose their own compensation amount based on their efforts and level of responsibility, the compensation amount must be approved by either the Estate beneficiaries or the Alberta Courts. In most cases, an Executor or their probate lawyer will draft an \u201cExecutor Compensation Schedule\u201d and send it to the Estate beneficiaries along with a \u201cRelease\u201d. By signing the release, the beneficiaries \u2018agree\u2019 to the proposed Executor compensation amount. If the beneficiaries refuse to approve the proposed compensation amount, the Executor must make a court application to have their compensation request approved. How Much Compensation is the Executor Entitled to in Alberta? Out-of-Pocket Expenses It\u2019s helpful to keep in mind that there\u2019s a difference between Executor compensation and reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses. Even if the Will doesn\u2019t entitle the Executor to compensation, they\u2019re still entitled to reimbursement for expenses\u2014i.e. accounting fees, legal fees, travel expenses, parking, postage, and other expenses that they incur while fulfilling their Executor duties. If you\u2019re an Estate Executor, it\u2019s prudent to keep receipts for all out-of-pocket expenses that you incur, however, doing so isn\u2019t required by law. Executor Compensation While it\u2019s fairly easy to quantify out-of-pocket expenses, determining Executor compensation often falls within a \u2018grey-area\u2019. However, the Surrogate Rules, which are Alberta laws governing Estate distribution, outline a number of factors to consider when determining an Executor compensation amount: \tThe gross value of the estate; \tThe amount of revenue receipts and disbursements; \tThe complexity of the work involved and whether any difficult or unusual questions were raised; \tThe amount of skill, labour, responsibility, technological support, and specialized knowledge required; \tThe time expended; \tThe number and complexity of tasks delegated to others; and \tThe number of Personal Representatives appointed in the Will, if any. The following situations may also entitle an Executor to additional compensation: \tThe Executor is called upon to perform additional roles in order to administer the Estate, such as exercising the powers of a manager or director of a company or business; \tThe Executor encounters unusual difficulties or situations; or \tThe Executor must instruct a lawyer on litigation. What Do the Alberta Guidelines Say? The Alberta Surrogate Rules Committee created an Executor fee guideline in the 1990s. Some may argue that the guidelines are outdated, and while it is worth keeping in mind that the guidelines never made it into the actual Surrogate Rules, the guidelines are helpful in that they provide Executors with a range of fees that are likely to be considered reasonable by the Alberta Courts. The guidelines suggest the following Executor compensation in Alberta: CAPITAL (Value of the Deceased\u2019s Assets Upon Death) Suggested Executor Compensation On the first $250,000.00 of capital: 3% - 5% On the next $250,000.00 of capital: 2% - 4% On the balance: 0.5% - 3% REVENUE (Funds or Assets That Come Into the Estate While the Estate is Being Managed by the Executor, i.e. dividends, etc.) Suggested Executor Compensation On revenue receipts: 4% - 6% CARE & MANAGEMENT (Assets That are Managed by the Executor While Awaiting Distribution) Suggested Executor Compensation On the first $250,000.00 of capital: 0.3% - 0.6% On the next $250,000.00 of capital: 0.2% - 0.5% On the balance: 0.1% - 0.4% Depending on the complexity of the Estate, the amount of work involved, and the factors listed in the Surrogate Rules, an Alberta Court will likely validate an Executor compensation amount that falls somewhere within the range of percentages outlined in the table above. It\u2019s also worth considering that it\u2019s much easier for an Executor to have the Estate beneficiaries approve an Executor compensation amount than it is for an Executor to make a court application. As such, it\u2019s helpful to be fair with your proposed compensation amount and to obtain advice from a knowledgeable probate lawyer who can guide you as to what\u2019s reasonable and fair in the circumstances. Our Probate Lawyers Are Here to Advise You Regarding Executor Compensation If you\u2019re an Estate Executor or Personal Representative, the experienced probate lawyers at West Legal can help you determine how much Executor compensation you\u2019re entitled to. It\u2019s important that you\u2019re fairly compensated for your efforts in administering the deceased\u2019s Estate, and that your compensation is reasonable in the circumstances. If you\u2019re unsure of whether you\u2019re entitled to Executor compensation, or of how much compensation you\u2019re entitled to receive, contact the knowledgeable Wills & Estates lawyers at West Legal today for a free-of-charge, no-obligation consultation. email@example.com or 403-723-0175 to get started.