Executor Compensation in your Will

Being an Executor (or personal representative as they are known in Alberta) is hard work. Once you have picked someone you trust who can be responsible to wind up your estate, attention to detail so they can deal with all the little things surrounding your demise, and the tenacity to keep going and complete the job until the end. 

When you ask someone to be your executor you are asking someone to take one year out of their life to wind up your property. In many cases the executor is not the only beneficiary, but they get stuck with all the hard work while the others dont have this burden. 

In Alberta your Executor is entitled to executor compensation for their services. This fee is in addition to any of the costs that they incur in handling your estate, such as mileage, parking, and even purchasing cleaning supplies.  In rough terms, the executor of an estate is usually entitled to compensation in the range of 2-3% of the total value of the estate. The proper amount will very based upon the:

- capital receipts received;

- capital disbursements;

- income receipts;

- income disbursements; and 

- care and maintenance required.

This is an approximation, and this amount can go up or down based upon a wide number of factors. This fee may be reduced by a court, if the executor hired people to complete tasks that the executor is usually expected to complete. 

In determining executor compensation, the items to be considered are:

1. Did the will say anything about compensation. At Estate Connection we encourage all our clients to expressly state in their will what amount they want to compensate their executor.

2. The time and effort expended by the executor. We supply all our executors with a log book so that they can keep track of what they have done.

3. The complexity of the estate. Was their minor children that have a trust. How about a farming operation or business? These things make an estate more complex.

4. The skill and ability of the Executor

5. The results achieved

6. The size of the estate.

Generally, larger estates warrant more compensation, but keep in mind that large estates are not necessarily complex. For example a farmer who has four quarters of land, may have several million dollars but this is not necessarily more work then a person who has a home that needs to be packed up and sold. 


If you are considering rewriting your will we would encourage you to consider placing executor compensation into your documents. This saves your family from any misunderstanding, and permits your executor to be paid for their hard work. If you have questions about executor compensation contact our probate lawyer to discuss what is reasonable in your situation. 

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