Executor fees - with our without probate court?

My father passed away more than a year ago in Ohio. Dad setup a irrevocable trust. We were informed by my father’s lawyer that “because Dad’s estate didn’t go through probate court, that my sibling executor would not be entitled to ANY executor fees”. We believe that the lawyer and the accountant will be paid for their services, but not the executor. The lawyer also told my sibling to hold back money to include the lawyer, accountant, and executor fees.

  1. Why would they (lawyer and accountant) be paid and not the executor?
  2. Why would the trust pay the executor if it goes through probate court, but not pay the executor if it avoids probate court?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Handled an Ohio estate that did not require probate. Lawyers filed papers for release from probate (which negated the need for an executor), drew up the necessary documents to close down the bank accounts and were paid for their services.

In every state I’ve lived in trusts do not go through probate, that’s the reason most people use them. There is typically very little for an executor to do if there is a trust involved. And I would think that compensating a family member/executor for anything but expenses would be unusual. Who is the trustee?

Lawyers and accountants are routinely paid for their services before heirs and trustors receive anything.

Ask a lawyer with estate planning expertise for help.

That’s because all assets transferred to the trust are no longer owned by the person establishing the trust (here, the decedent). And, with an irrevocable trust, the value of the trust is not considered as part of the estate for estate tax purposes.

If all of the father’s assets were appropriately transferred to the trust, there is no estate to probate and the executor is superfluous. If there was a pour over will, any remaining assets would be transferred to the trust. The trust likely named a trustee, who will then administer and/or distribute trust assets to beneficiaries as per the trust document.

Also, some states require that the will specify if and what the executor may be paid for doing that job, otherwise it’s simply expense reimbursement. With a trust, the document should specify how and if the trustee will be paid.

I agree… the stuff left over after transfer to the trust are typically personal items like cars, trinkets and items that have sentimental value to family and friends. In our case that job falls to the executor who must follow instructions contained in the descendant’s last will and/or gift instructions.

Thank you for all the replies!

Unfortunately we have a different situation where we have little assets remaining. Most personal items were immediately taken by the wife.

It is sad that the executor did lots of work for no additional compensation.

Thank you!