According to the EstateExec national study, the average estate takes 16 months to settle and 570 hours of executor effort. (PRNewsfoto/EstateExec)

What Happens After the Funeral?

SILICON VALLEY, Calif., July 12, 2018 – EstateExec, the leading online software for estate executors, has published the results of the first national study on after-death practices, covering family dynamics, average time to resolve estates, effort involved, executor compensation, and more.

Once a person passes away, and immediate issues such as funeral arrangements have been handled, the law requires that all material entanglements be gathered into an “estate” (no matter how small or how large), and “settled”: debts resolved, taxes paid, legal forms submitted, assets distributed to the heirs, etc.  Usually this responsibility falls to a close family member who has never done it before, and has little understanding how to proceed.  For these people, an understanding of normal practices, effort, and time involved, can prove invaluable.

The EstateExec study shows that the typical US estate falls between $50K$250K, with 90% of all estates valued at less than $1M. When the size of Anthony Bourdain’s estate was recently revealed, the public was surprised that the value was “only” $1.2M; while that number may be low for a celebrity, it still places him squarely in the top 10% of the general population nationwide.

Settling an estate takes significant time and effort: the study reveals that this process takes 16 months on average, and requires 570 hours of work by the executor.  The larger the estate, the more effort is required, and 80% of estates are settled with 800 hours of effort or less.  Some estates drag on for years, but again, 80% are settled within 18 months.

Time to finish may be lengthened by conflict, and over 44% of participants had personally experienced or were aware of family conflict arising from the settlement process, ranging from minor disagreements to entire branches of families that never again spoke to one another, to lawsuits that consumed almost the entire estate.

Since it takes hundreds of hours of work to settle an estate, most states have laws and court practices that establish compensation for the executor, and the average reported executor compensation was approximately $18K.  Since compensation practices and norms vary widely by state, however, it’s important to use a state-specific compensation calculator.

The EstateExec study included more than 1200 respondents, and had an overall margin of error of +/-3%.  More details can be found at

ABOUT EstateExec: Based in Silicon Valley, EstateExec is the leading provider of software for estate executors. Since the 1800’s, executors have had to rely on legal or financial counselors to guide them through the difficult and time-consuming process of estate settlement, and even these outside experts have had few resources to automate and simplify the effort. Now, with the help of breakthrough technology, EstateExec is revolutionizing the way executors settle their estates, making it easy to manage, calculate, and process.  EstateExec is fast, easy, secure, and reduces risk of executor error. For more information, visit

Media Contact: 
Dan Stickel
[email protected]

SOURCE EstateExec