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Background: I am the co-executor on my mother’s estate. (My father pre-deceased my mother many years ago.) The other executor is an attorney. I will be inheriting 1/4 of the estate; the other 3/4's will go to my sister, my brother, and two nephews, the adult sons of a deceased brother (my nephews will each get 1/8).
I just found out from the accountant who is doing the estate taxes that my share of the executor fee will be about $20,000, under New Jersey law. I know my co-executor, the attorney, intends to take his share. What I need to decide is whether I will take my fee.
Unfortunately, I never thought to discuss this issue with my mother, so I don’t know what her wishes would have been. But I know that I feel very uncomfortable taking such a large fee, because it would mean I would be getting $20K more than my siblings and nephews. Although being an executor has involved some work and worry (I’m a worrier, so that’s inevitable!), I don’t feel I’ve done anywhere near enough work to warrant such a large fee. It just does not seem fair that I should get that much more money than my siblings and nephews.
More detail: my sister has not helped with the estate, but she lives quite far away, and there really is not anything she could have done from a distance to help. I know she feels guilty about this, but she really should not. My brother has helped, though, mostly in joining me in going through all my mother’s belongings, which was a long, hard job.
My husband’s position is that I should take the fee, although he will defer to my decision.
I know this is my personal decision to make, but – any thoughts would be very much appreciated!