Probate Fee Disputes
A Philadelphia probate fee dispute attorney helps you if you believe that a person appointed as a fiduciary has exceeded his or her legal rights and this has put you and other beneficiaries at a disadvantage. A probate fee dispute causes issues when a person who says that the fees taken out for probate or trustee costs are excessive.
Typically, a probate lawyer's fees are paid out of the estate funds. An executor's responsibility in managing an estate includes many different roles, but state laws typically require that attorney's fees are fair and reasonable. If you believe that fair and reasonable fees were not included by the probate attorney, you need the support of a probate fee dispute lawyer in Philadelphia. A probate fee dispute attorney in Pennsylvania will tell you that serving as the executor of an estate in Pennsylvania can be a time consuming and difficult task. The executor has to be able to understand the various responsibilities enforced by institutions and bureaucracies and the laws that intersect with his or her tasks. Executors are often encouraged to hire a probate attorney to help them navigate this process.
The legislature in Pennsylvania does not have specific rules about probate attorney's fees. Any challenge to the requirement of fair and reasonable fees is left at the discretion of every county's Orphan's Court. The Pennsylvania legislature has resisted adopting a percentage based fee schedule. Certain Orphan's Court judges who have faced issues like this in the past have applied some helpful precedent in the form of the Johnson Estate Executor Schedule. The Johnson Estate Executor Fee Schedule is not solid law but it is a benchmark that many judges use to determine whether or not someone has charged excessive attorney's fees.
If a judge uses this as a baseline and it can be shown that someone in a position to have fiduciary duties violated this, that individual could be held personally responsible for damages done to the estate. Because these issues are so serious and require that the person bringing forth the claim has the right background and information to protect your rights, make sure you only retain a lawyer you can count on. Your attorney should be an advocate for your best interests and should tell you regularly what is going on.
This schedule does not represent what an estate has to or should pay, rather this information is based on the work that is involved with an individual estate. The fee agreement should always detail the work that must be completed by the attorney as well as the executor to decrease the chances of disputes in the future. The fee should always be calculated based on the responsibility that will be incurred by the lawyer, the complexity of the estate, the attorney's experience in that field in handling cases like this and the overall size of the estate. Percentage fees are based on the size of the estate which reflects the overall work typically required but you should always consult with an attorney if you believe the probate lawyer in your case exceeded this amount.
An attorney who is knowledgeable about disputes and the common challenges raised in these types of cases, will be thoroughly prepared to advise you and explain to you what you can and can't do, and what protections you may have as an interested party in the estate. This information is instrumental and extremely helpful when you are preparing to file a probate fee dispute. Make sure that you consider all of the relevant actors including agents, executors and more.