My mother passed away leaving 5 children as heirs, a savings of $50,000 and a small home that was paid off. One sister is the executor. She and her husband are working on repairing the home for sale, they are paying themselves $20 an hour out of the estate. They have been at this for several months. The house was valued at 50 thousand as it stood, now they have well over that much in their labor and materials and are speculating that the market will improve and they will earn that much back. What is the limit that an executor can pay themselves out of an estate. This is in Arizona. Thank you!
1 Answer from Attorneys
No person is the executor (now called the personal representative) of the decedent's estate, until they are appointed by the probate court. So, any action taken without proper appointment by the court to legally administer the estate, would be illegal and they will be accountable to the court, who oversees the administration of the estate.
The actions of the personal representative must be reasonable and prudent at all times, and the PR owes fiduciary duties to the estate and all of the heirs, which means that the PR cannot act in the PR's selfish interest, to the detriment of the estate and the heirs.
Without a court order, no payment out of the estate is allowed.