Best forum to ask an estate question?

Need some generic advice about who pays the estate attorney fees.

Attorney fees would be considered an expense to settling the estate.

Two responses - not being snarky - 1) unless someone redirects the conversation to another forum, we’ll leave it here.

  1. I agree with you. But I have an estate attorney being snarky with me.

I’m not an attorney, but in my experience it depends on who, or what entity the attorney is representing. If the attorney is representing the estate, and the estate is insolvent, the court decides who pays the attorney.

If you engaged the attorney and paid them a retainer, you are probably the one paying.

That is highly discouraging and was never mentioned by the attorney. Makes me like attorneys even less. Yet to find one that actually did their job. It amazes me that by trying to be an executor and doing the right thing, you can open yourself up to this level of exposure.

Warning to anyone named as an executor: get legal counsel before you sign or do anything.

This is not legal advice, seek counsel;
In most cases, as the estate’s legally appointed executor, all expenses attributable to executing your duties would be borne by the estate.

If the estate has no assets why is it going through probate?

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Excellent question - the main asset was my mother’s house. Located in Raleigh, NC - the lot was worth more than the house. Fast forward 12+ months - house/lot was going to be sold, lots of debris there (working that) - at closing turns out in NC real estate sales do not go through probate. Estate attorney objected (that was the main asset in the estate), real estate attorney said “tough, suck it up buttercup” and here we are…

which begs the next question… of why it’s going through probate. But it further begs yet another question - why did the estate attorney require payment up front as a retainer fee? This was the death of my mother, I’ve never done this before, how the he## was I supposed to know?

Don’t live in NC so this is just a question to improve my knowledge. If your mother owned the property and it wasn’t in the estate how was it determined who had the right to sell it and who would get the proceeds?

I don’t know about North Carolina, but some states have a fee schedule for handling estates based on a percentage of the value of the estate. If that’s true there, your estate attorney may want that house in probate in order to charge you more than bare minimum in fees.

My brother died suddenly and without a will or trust, so I was appointed administrator. That same day, in the court office, I was told that a deceased’s real estate is sold by the heirs, not by the executor or administrator, and that they (the probate office) would send a note to the register of deeds to get them to change the title to Heirs of Brother. Then it was outside probate and the heirs could sell when they wished, and were not at the mercy of an executor, administrator, or attorney they didn’t hire. So maybe North Carolina does something like this.

I had to hire an attorney to settle my mom’s estate because her state required it. Florida had a fee schedule but I found an attorney who would do it on an hourly basis and I would do most of the work. He gave me an estimate and I paid half up front. So maybe that’s common practice. What a pain it was, though. I don’t want to have to hire an attorney again.

I NEVER want to hire an attorney…!

I’m not an attorney, and I’m just paddling hard to keep the banjos at arms length… the way it was explained to me is that the original 13 colonies (yeah, we are going that far back) have different land laws when compared to other states. The legal stuff goes back into the 1600s. I lived in Arizona for a few years, and it was much simpler.

Technically, it had to be divided amongst the heirs. As the named executor, I had the responsibility to sell it. What I did not know (and my estate attorney did not mention) was that the proceeds did not go through probate. He was not happy about this, but I suspect he already knew. Going to be an interesting 2024.

Correct, but it is quite convoluted. The probate laws are not in sync with how real estate is handled. My dad was an EE - his best friend was an EE. His friend said, I’m working to hard, went back to “school” and in 2 years became an attorney/passed the bar with no sweat.

Based on the crap I’ve dealt with and attorneys, there is a huge market for smart attorneys…

The Estate would pay Lawyer fees, per court assigned Administrator.

Heh, self cancelling term?

Well, pissed off engineers that became attorneys because they are pissed off? :slight_smile:
Engineers think differently, it may or may not be a good thing, based on what I see of the “law” these days.

This may explain why things are so confusing…
“30% of House Members, and 51% of Senators, have law degrees and have practiced law.”

From; Membership of the 118th Congress: A Profile Updated May 10, 2024

h200 - why are you repeating me? I think we agree.

absolutely agree.

I assume you are referring to post #6 in this thread. In that post I was not repeating you, I was quoting you in your comment from post #5. I did that to make clear what post I was responding to. If you don’t do that people may not know what post you are talking about.

My use of a disclosure that I am not a lawyer, as I did in post #4 and #6 is so folks understand my accompanying comments are not coming from a qualified legal source but are simply my opinion.