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Executor Commissions in New Jersey

The executor of an estate, as well as an administrator of an estate, is entitled to a commission based on the value of the estate.  An “executor” is what we call the personal representative of an estate in which a Will was probated with the Surrogate’s Office.  The executor would have been named in the Will.  An “Aministrator” is what we call the personal representative of an estate in which there is not a Will (i.e., an “Intestate Estate”). An administrator is also appointed by the Surrogate’s Office, and is usually a close family member.  The job titles are different, but the job is exactly the same.

Similarly, the commissions to which an executor or an administrator are entitled are set by the New Jersey legislature, and are the same for both titles.  The commission schedule is as follows:

  • 5.0% of the first $200,000 in value.
  • 3.5% on the excess over $200,000 up to one million dollars.
  • 2.0% of everything over one million dollars.

For example, on and estate worth $199,000, the executor or administrator would be entitled to a statutory commission of $9,950.00.  An executor or administrator would be entitled to a commission of $32,750 on an estate worth $850,000. ($10k for the first $200,000, then 3.5% of the next $650,000.) On an estate worth $1,900,000, the executor or administrator would be entitled to a commission of $63,000.

The commission is based on the gross value of the estate.  In other words, if there is a house worth $350,000 and there is a mortgage on the property of $325,000, the commission is based on the entire $350,000, and not the $25,000 equity in the property.  Is that fair?  I think so.  It takes as much work to take care of and sell a house with a mortgage on it as it does for one without a mortgage.  It might even be more work because the executor has to make mortgage payments until the house is sold.

The executor or administrator does not have to take the commission. In my experience, most clients come in declaring that they think they will waive the commission so their siblings don’t get upset or envious.  It is also my experience that most of these executors don’t realize how much work and aggrevation is involved.  Thus, I advise them not to make that decision until after all the work is done.  Most thank me profusely for that advise.

If you need help probating the estate or filing estate or inheritance tax returns, give us a call.  That’s what we do for a living!