Surrogate Margaret C. Reilly

 

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In this contested petition for fixing of attorney fees in the underlying probate proceeding, the attorney waived her right to a hearing regarding the fee. The court found the attorney’s services were limited to getting the will admitted to probate, but did not include services concerning the estate’s administration. Coexecutor opposed, and sought arbitration of the issue. Counsel claimed she spent 21.7 hours on the subject matter, but only billed $300 hourly, rather than her usual $350, as an accommodation to the client. Also, a $2,310 retainer fee was paid, and the current fee of $5,592.80 was sought. Co-executor claimed the invoice was excessive, requesting an explanation for 3.1 hours on Aug. 20, 2015, 5.6 hours at th clerk’s office and 11.2 hours for preparing the probate petition. The arbitration case was denied as it was a Surrogate’s Court case. Counsel claimed the probate proceeding was more complex than originally anticipated, but the reply did not answer co-executor’s specific questions. The court concluded a $4,610 fee award was reasonable, reducing the amount by subtracting certain costs, including 3.1 hours for vagueness. As counsel received $2,310, the remaining balance due, $2,300, was directed to be paid counsel’s firm by the estate within 30 days.

Surrogate Margaret C. Reilly

 

Read Full-Text Decision

In this contested petition for fixing of attorney fees in the underlying probate proceeding, the attorney waived her right to a hearing regarding the fee. The court found the attorney’s services were limited to getting the will admitted to probate, but did not include services concerning the estate’s administration. Coexecutor opposed, and sought arbitration of the issue. Counsel claimed she spent 21.7 hours on the subject matter, but only billed $300 hourly, rather than her usual $350, as an accommodation to the client. Also, a $2,310 retainer fee was paid, and the current fee of $5,592.80 was sought. Co-executor claimed the invoice was excessive, requesting an explanation for 3.1 hours on Aug. 20, 2015, 5.6 hours at th clerk’s office and 11.2 hours for preparing the probate petition. The arbitration case was denied as it was a Surrogate’s Court case. Counsel claimed the probate proceeding was more complex than originally anticipated, but the reply did not answer co-executor’s specific questions. The court concluded a $4,610 fee award was reasonable, reducing the amount by subtracting certain costs, including 3.1 hours for vagueness. As counsel received $2,310, the remaining balance due, $2,300, was directed to be paid counsel’s firm by the estate within 30 days.