4.8/5 based on 35 reviews.

Sudden Wealth Blog

When Does a Personal Representative Get Paid? A Comprehensive Guide

Photo of lady writing a check. When does a personal representative get paid?

Being a personal representative can be a challenging and time-consuming role. So when does a personal representative get paid? The payment process can be complex and varies depending on the specific circumstances. In this guide, we’ll explore when and how personal representatives can expect to receive payment for their services.

Understand the Role of a Personal Representative.

Before diving into the payment process, it’s important to understand the role of a personal representative. A personal representative, also known as an executor or administrator, is responsible for managing the estate of a deceased person. This includes tasks such as identifying and valuing assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. The personal representative is typically appointed by the court or named in the deceased person’s will. It’s a crucial role that requires attention to detail, organization, and communication skills.

Determine the Payment Structure.

The payment structure for a personal representative can vary depending on the state and the specific circumstances of the estate. In some cases, the personal representative may receive a flat fee for their services. In other cases, they may be paid a percentage of the estate’s value. It’s important to review the laws and regulations in your state to determine the appropriate payment structure. Additionally, the safe approach is to discuss payment with the beneficiaries and obtain their approval before accepting any compensation.

Calculate the Fees and Expenses.

Before a personal representative can receive payment, they must calculate the fees and expenses associated with administering the estate. This includes any court fees, attorney fees, and other expenses incurred during the probate process. Once these expenses have been deducted from the estate’s value, the personal representative can determine their compensation based on the agreed-upon payment structure. It’s important to keep detailed records of all expenses and payments to ensure transparency and avoid any potential legal issues.

Who Gets Paid First?

In Arizona, A.R.S. Section 14-3805 provides the following guidance on who gets paid first. (NOTE: A personal representative and his/her lawyer are in the first category and get paid first.)

A. If the applicable assets of the estate are insufficient to pay all claims in full, the personal representative shall make payment in the following order:

1. Costs and expenses of administration.

2. Reasonable funeral expenses.

3. Debts and taxes with preference under federal law.

4. Reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last illness of the decedent, including compensation of persons attending him.

5. Debts and taxes with preference under the laws of this state.

6. All other claims.

B. No preference shall be given in the payment of any claim over any other claim of the same class and a claim due and payable shall not be entitled to a preference over claims not due.

Consider Submitting a Fee Petition to the Court.

Once all expenses have been calculated and deducted from the estate’s value, the personal representative may submit a fee petition to the court for approval. This is not a requirement in Arizona. However, there are situations when this makes sense. The petition should include a detailed breakdown of all expenses and the proposed compensation for the personal representative. The court will review the petition and either approve, modify, or deny the requested fees. It’s important to note that the court may require additional documentation or justification for certain expenses, so it’s crucial to keep detailed records throughout the probate process. Once the fee petition is approved, the personal representative can receive payment for their services.

Receive Payment and Keep Accurate Records.

As a personal representative, it’s important to keep accurate records of all expenses and services provided throughout the probate process. This includes keeping receipts, invoices, and detailed notes on any work performed. The amount of compensation can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and the amount of work required. However, with proper documentation and a thorough understanding of the payment process, personal representatives can ensure they receive fair compensation for their services.

Are you still wondering when does a personal representative get paid? We can help.

Our trusted law firm specializes in supporting personal representatives like you, ensuring a smooth and efficient probate process while advocating for your rightful payment. With our deep knowledge of probate laws and extensive experience in estate administration, we are equipped to navigate the complexities of the system, securing the compensation you deserve for your time, dedication, and meticulous work. Give us a call today at 602-443-4888. Together, we’ll successfully administer the estate and ensure you are justly compensated for your invaluable contributions.



Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.