Can my estate avoid paying an executor's fee?
Probate laws differ from state to state. The following discussion applies to residents of Texas.
You can write a will that denies or limits compensation to your executor. You may appoint your spouse or another beneficiary as executor, and a beneficiary is often quite willing to serve for free. If the executor is the sole beneficiary of the will, then an executor's fee may not be important to him, because it will come out of the same funds he would otherwise receive as a bequest. If your will leaves property to multiple people, any one of them might jump at the chance to be in charge, fee or no fee. Texas law does not disqualify a beneficiary of the estate from serving as executor merely because he is a beneficiary.
If you do deny compensation to your executor, your lawyer will probably suggest that you make an exception for professional executors (banks, trust companies, etc.), because they will not serve without compensation. Even if your will does not appoint a professional executor, the probate judge may be obliged to appoint one because of unforeseen circumstances (for example, all of the executors you name might be unwilling or unable to serve). Although this is unlikely to happen, you should not leave your estate unprepared to deal with any situation.