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Probate Personal Representative Fee

As a Portland lawyer who specializes in probate, one common area that I advise clients on is the fee that they are entitled to for their work on the probate. In Oregon, the personal representative fee, often referred to as the “executor’s fee” or “administrator’s fee,” is compensation paid to the person appointed to administer the estate of a deceased individual. The personal representative is responsible for handling various tasks associated with settling the estate, including gathering assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries or heirs. The fee is typically a percentage of the total estate value, but it can be subject to limitations and court approval.

Here are some key points regarding the personal representative fee in Oregon:

  1. Calculation of Fee: The personal representative fee in Oregon is typically calculated based on a percentage of the total estate value. The Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) in ORS 116.173 specify that the fee is as following:
    • 7% on the first $1K
    • 4% on the next $9k
    • 3% on the next $40k
    • 2% on anything more

However, the court may adjust the fee if it finds that the percentage-based fee is not reasonable or would result in an excessive payment.

  1. Complex Estates: For particularly complex estates or estates with unique circumstances, the court may deviate from the statutory fee schedule and set a different fee that it deems reasonable and just. This holds true for situations where the personal representative has to go “above and beyond” to execute their responsibilities, such as excessive travel or working with assets and creditors that are particularly troublesome.
  2. No Fee for Certain Assets: The personal representative fee is generally calculated based on the total estate value, but certain assets may be excluded from this calculation. For example, assets that pass directly to beneficiaries outside of probate, such as payable on death bank accounts, retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, and assets held in joint tenancy, are typically not included in the fee calculation. However, the personal representative is still entitled to 1% of the value of these “non probate” assets. The personal representative is not entitled to a fee for life insurance proceeds.
  3. Court Approval: The personal representative’s fee must be approved by the probate court to ensure that it is reasonable and in accordance with Oregon law.
  4. Professional Personal Representatives: In some cases, a professional, such as an attorney or a bank, may serve as the personal representative. Professional representatives may charge fees based on their customary rates, subject to court approval.
  5. Waiver of Fee: If the personal representative agrees to waive the fee, the court may approve such arrangements.
  6. Tax Consequences: Personal representative fees are generally considered taxable income for the recipient, so it’s important to account for tax implications when calculating and reporting these fees.


Please note that probate laws and regulations can change, and the fee structure may evolve in the future. If you have specific questions or concerns about personal representative fees in an Oregon estate, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced probate attorney in Portland who can provide guidance based on the most current legal requirements and considerations. If you do have such questions, feel free to contact Thapar Law at 503-295-9741 or send us a message.

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