Colorado Probate Cost – executor fees

Posted by: Aug 19, 2014By Brian Stutheit

There is no explicit rule how much an executor (“personal representative”)  of a Colorado estate may charge.

“A personal representative is entitled to reasonable compensation for his or her services.” COLO REV STAT § 15-12-719(1). In reviewing the reasonableness of a compensation request, a probate court should consider:

(a) The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the service properly; (b) The likelihood, if apparent to the personal representative, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude the person employed from other employment; (c) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar services;

(d) The amount involved and the results obtained; (e) The time limitations imposed by the personal representative or by the circumstances; . . . [and] (g) The experience, reputation, and ability of the person performing the services.

Probate courts in Colorado cannot simply order a valuation of the estate, and order that a percentage or share of the estate be paid to the Personal Representative as a fee. Instead, in Colorado, the Court must review the factors set out above and apply those factors to the estate administration to determine the reasonableness of the compensation.

Most Colorado probate courts appoint a Public Administrator.  The Public Administrator is an attorney appointed by the probate court to administer estates in which no one else is available to serve as executor, or where the family cannot agree who should be executor.  Colorado public administrators charge in excess of $200 per hour.  The Denver Public Administrator charges $125 per hour for paralegals.  Their experience and efficiency may justify a higher fee than the normal person receives, but their rates are certainly evidence of the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar services.

We write many wills which provide that the the personal representative may not charge a fee for service, but may be reimbursed expenses that are necessary to administer the estate and reasonable in amount.