State - Texas
I was recently appointed Independent Administrator of my late aunt's estate in Texas, following a 6-month temporary administration (by her "best friend" who didn't know that any of us 33 relatives existed). The temporary administrator hired her "divorce" lawyer there in Texas to handle the proceedings in Probate Court. He tells me that I am entitled to a 5% "income & disbursements" fee, which only includes 5% of income from interest or dividends and NOT income from the sale of the house, car, or personal property, and 5% of expenses paid, not including any disbursements to the heirs. After researching Chapter 7 of the Texas Probate Code, I tend to disagree with him:
"PART 6. COMPENSATION, EXPENSES, AND COURT COSTS
§ 241. Compensation of Personal Representatives
(a) Executors, administrators, and temporary administrators shall be entitled to receive a commission of five per cent (5%) on all sums they may actually receive in cash, and the same per cent on all sums they may actually pay out in cash, in the administration of the estate on a finding by the court that the executor or administrator has taken care of and managed the estate in compliance with the standards of this code; provided, no commission shall be allowed for receiving funds belonging to the testator or intestate which were on hand or were held for the testator or intestate at the time of his death in a financial institution or a brokerage firm, including cash or a cash equivalent held in a checking account, savings account, certificate of deposit, or money market account; nor for collecting the proceeds of any life insurance policy; nor for paying out cash to the heirs or legatees as such; provided, further, however, that in no event shall the executor or administrator be entitled in the aggregate to more than five per cent (5%) of the gross fair market value of the estate subject to administration."
I have been searching the internet for several days now, trying to find the correct interpretation of this law. From what I understand, I do NOT get 5% of any of the CASH (approx. $25,000.00 from savings, checking, cd's, etc) that was transferred to the estate account immediately following my aunt's death, or from the future payout to the heirs. I do think I am entitled to 5% of the income from the sale of the property. (House was appraised at $180,000.00, sold for $180,000 and after mortgage, realtor commission, property taxes, etc. were paid, $149,000 was deposited into the estate checking account. The car & other personal property netted approximately $8,200.00.
Please provide the correct interpretation of this section of the Texas probate code, or point me in the direction of someone who can. Your help will be greatly appreciated!!