Louisiana

The law in Louisiana addresses payment of executor’s fees based on testamentary provisions, or by agreement with surviving spouse and competent heirs when there is no will. If there is no such agreement nor any provision in a will, compensation is based on a statutory formula.

 The law also addresses reduction of compensation if executor receives compensation for other roles, and procedures for pleading for additional compensation.

 Louisiana  Executor Fee Statute

Executor’s fees in Louisiana are governed by Article 3351 of the state Code of Civil Procedure.  The law specifies that executor compensation shall be governed by provision of the will, if any, as long as the provision is for a “reasonable” amount.

If there is no will, “an administrator for his services in administering a succession shall be allowed such reasonable amount as is provided by the agreement between the administrator and the surviving spouse, and all competent heirs of the legatees of the deceased.” 

In the absence of such an agreement or testamentary provision, the “administrator or executor shall be allowed a sum equal to two and one-half percent of the amount of the inventory as compensation for his services…” 

The statute goes on to state that the court ”may increase the compensation upon a proper showing that the usual commission is inadequate.”

Article 3351.1 deals with the situation where an executor serves dual roles, and states generally that unless otherwise provided in the will or agreed among the other stakeholders, the compensation due the executor as succession representative shall be reduced by any amounts paid for his services as attorney or corporate officer on behalf of decedent’s estate.

See Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure, Articles 3351 and 3351.1 (2013).

You can find the relevant codes or explore the full statute on the official state website here:  Louisiana State Legislature, Code of Civil Procedure  (See CCP 3351 and CCP 3351.1.)

Selected Louisiana Case Law Regarding Executor Fees

Fees Always Subject to Scrutiny by the Court

As one Louisiana court explained, executor fees in Louisiana are always subject to judicial review:

“The reasonableness of an attorney fee award is always subject to court scrutiny. The succession representative who seeks court approval to pay such fees must, however, meet a threshold burden of establishing the basis and amount of the fees, just as she would be required to do to obtain court approval to pay other debts or charges of the succession.”

See Succession of Abdalla, 764 So. 2d 362 (La.App. 3 Cir. June 28, 2000).  

In the Abdalla case, the executor renounced his executor’s fees and acted as counsel of the estate. The main issue was whether the executor who renounced his fees could act as counsel of the estate and collect the corresponding attorney’s fees. The Court allowed payment of the claimed attorney’s fees to the executor. The law does not prohibit an executor to act also as the counsel of the estate of the decedent. Thus, payment of executor’s fees did not bar compensation of attorney’s fees. The executor was entitled to compensation for acting as attorney. [Since the executor-attorney renounced his executor's fees, Article 3351.1 did not apply].