Personal Representatives are entitled to be compensated for the work they do in the administration of the estate.
The Will may set the rate of compensation for a Personal Representative. If the Will does not specify the rate of compensation, compensation may be approved by the residual beneficiaries of an Estate. In the absence of the approval by the residual beneficiaries, the Personal Representatives may apply to the Court to set their compensation.
Many Personal Representatives will rely on the Alberta Suggested Fee Guidelines to set their compensation. Although the Suggested Fee Guidelines are used by Personal Representatives, they have not been formally adopted by our legislation or our Courts. Ultimately, a Personal Representative may decide an hourly rate or flat fee is more appropriate for their compensation. Any proposed compensation must be assessed as fair and reasonable in the context of the Estate and the work performed.
Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Surrogate Rules of Alberta outline the principles and guidelines relating to Personal Representative compensation.
Of note are the factors a Court must consider when determining what is fair and reasonable compensation for a Personal Representative, namely:
(a) the gross value of the estate;
(b) the amount of revenue receipts and disbursements;
(c) the complexity of the work involved and whether any difficult or
(d) unusual questions were raised;
(e) the amount of skill, labour, responsibility, technological support and
(f) specialized knowledge required;
(g) the time expended;
(h) the number and complexity of tasks delegated to others;
(i) the number of personal representatives appointed in the will, if any.
The Court has the authority to increase or reduce the amount of compensation for Personal Representatives depending on the circumstances of each estate. The Alberta Courts have assessed Personal Representative fees in a number of cases, most recently, the Bruce Estate (Re), 2017 ABQB 67.