Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Connecticut

Q: If you disagree with an attorney's probate fee who do you contact, the probate judge, another attorney or someone else?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nicole M. Camporeale
Nicole M. Camporeale
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Orange, CT
  • Licensed in Connecticut

A: The attorney does not set the probate fee. The probate fee is set by that laws of the state of Connecticut. They are assessed based on the value of the estate that was reported to the court. If you are referring to the attorney's legal fee, if this fee was agreed upon by you (or whomever is the executor of the estate) then you cannot dispute them for that reason. However, state law says that an attorney's fee should be reasonable. This reasonableness is determined by the Probate Court. At the end of the estate matter, the attorney's fee is disclosed on the final financial report. If the Judge determines that the fee is unreasonable at that time, he/she will require the attorney to adjust their fee accordingly.

Fees that are deemed reasonable can either be at an hourly rate and the attorney simply needs to show that they have done that amount of work to warrant such a fee by showing billing statements, or it can be a flat fee. This fee can be anywhere from 2% to 5% of the gross value of the estate. Ex. if the gross value of the estate is $1,000,000 that would be a legal fee of up to $50,000. A judge could still find this to be unreasonable depending on certain circumstances surrounding the estate.

So, short answer is, if you have an issue with the attorney's fee being too high, and you were not the one who specifically agreed to pay the fee, you can write to the Probate Judge stating your reason for feeling the fee is unreasonable. If you need assistance with this, i suggest getting in contact with an attorney who does probate litigation.

If you think the probate fee is unreasonable, that is not something that can be changed.

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