This website is built for modern browsers - we recommend Chrome, Edge, & Safari.
Internet Explorer is not supported anymore by even the ones who made it!

Click here to download Chrome and see our site in all of it's glory!


Estate Planning

Understanding Executor Compensation Limits: A Deep Dive into Texas Estates Code Section 352.002

Understanding Executor Compensation Limits: A Deep Dive into Texas Estates Code Section 352.002


Troy Moore

July 27, 2023

August 25, 2023

Understanding Executor Compensation Limits: A Deep Dive into Texas Estates Code Section 352.002

Executor Compensation in Texas

Today, we'll shed light on a fundamental aspect of estate administration in Texas - executor compensation. In particular, we'll explore the restrictions and limitations placed on executor fees as per the Texas Estates Code Section 352.002. This topic can often be a complex maze for both attorneys and laypersons, so let's break it down in easy-to-understand terms.

The Executor's Role

First, a brief background on the executor's role. An executor, sometimes referred to as a personal representative, is appointed by the probate court to oversee the distribution of a deceased person's estate according to their last will and testament. The executor's responsibilities are numerous and often challenging. They may involve paying off debts, managing assets, filing taxes, and finally, distributing the remaining assets to the heirs.

Given the significant time, effort, and expertise required for these tasks, the executor typically receives compensation for their service. The compensation is intended to remunerate them for the responsibilities they undertake.

The Texas Estates Code Section 352.002

Texas Estates Code Section 352.002 provides the guiding principles for determining executor compensation in Texas. It stipulates that executors should receive "reasonable compensation" for their services. However, what constitutes "reasonable compensation" isn't specified, making it a subjective term subject to interpretation by the courts. The law allows the court to use discretion when deciding on the compensation amount, based on the time, effort, and skills required for the task.

The Limitations of Executor Compensation

Section 352.002 doesn't cap the amount an executor can earn, but it does place certain limitations on executor compensation to prevent excessive or unjustified fees. Here are the key limitations to consider:

a. Reasonableness: The compensation must be "reasonable." While this term is somewhat ambiguous, Texas courts often interpret it as a fee that is fair and commensurate with the time and effort involved in administering the estate.

b. Court Approval: The executor must apply to the court to receive their fee. The court then reviews the request and decides if the amount is reasonable based on the circumstances. This allows for a check-and-balance system that ensures fair executor compensation.

c. Disputes by Interested Parties: Beneficiaries, creditors, or other interested parties can dispute the executor’s fee if they believe it's too high. The court will then review the dispute and make a final decision.

d. Terms of the Will: The terms of the will can override Section 352.002. If the will states a specific amount or formula for calculating the executor's compensation, then those terms will apply.

And even more, the Court, in Norman v. Finley, 2002 WL 341585 (Tex.App.--San Antonio 2002, no writ) (unrep. op.) held that the Executor was not entitled to commission on sale of house where commission had been paid to realtor, and not entitled to commission on payments made to herself as a creditor.

If the Will provides for compensation pursuant to the Will, then the Will controls over Texas Est. Code Section 352.002.

In situations where there is an Independent Executor, an Independent Executor does not need to seek court permission to charge compensation, as the Executor is naturally Independent. However, the Executor, if he or she goes against what the statute says, or in the alternative, goes against what the Will says, or otherwise charges unreasonable or excessive compensation to the beneficiaries, the Executor should not be one bit surprised to find herself being sued one day by the other beneficiaries for over-charging for Executor duties in probate court. One allegation/cause of action that would be particularly troublesome to an Executor in this situation is when a beneficiary claims that the Executor breached his/her Fiduciary Duty by charging for Executor compensation that is not allowed for under Texas Est. Code Section 352.002. Care should be taken by the Executor to not provoke beneficiaries to take action against the Executor.

The Takeaway

Understanding the Texas Estates Code Section 352.002 and its implications on executor compensation is crucial for executors, beneficiaries, and anyone else involved in the probate process. It ensures fair compensation for the executor while protecting the estate and the interests of the beneficiaries.

Remember, if you're named an executor or you're a beneficiary who believes an executor's fee is excessive, you should seek advice from a qualified attorney. They can provide valuable guidance and help navigate through the intricacies of the Texas Estates Code.

Do you need help understanding executor compensation or any other aspect of probate law in Texas? Feel free to contact us to discuss your legal needs.

The content of this article is intended to be general legal information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. For professional advice tailored to your specific situation, always consult with an experienced Texas probate estate attorney.

Understanding Executor Compensation Limits: A Deep Dive into Texas Estates Code Section 352.002

July 27, 2023

August 25, 2023

Basic Linkedin Icon
Basiic Maill iicon

Latest posts



Schedule your consultation today

Contact Us

Get in touch

We're here to help you*
*if you are a marketer just stop right here and save yourself some time...

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.