Lincoln, NE asked in Legal Malpractice, Contracts and Estate Planning for Nebraska

Q: Should the estate Atty (executor) provide a periodic accounting of legal costs to the beneficiaries? it’s been 9 months.

We’ve sent written requests for accounting of legal fees and asked in person. I once asked what the typical cost of an estate this size (3M) runs. Initially he said 20-25K, a month later I asked again and he said 40-45K. We’ve received nothing in writing regarding legal fees. I asked why the big jump, he replied there had been more work (fixing pool, property improvements) but we did the work (hiring vetting and hiring svc’s etc) he then approved the action and signed the checks. At this point the remaining $ the beneficiaries will share is 1/3 of total estate value (less than 1 million out of the 3 million total), whemat happened to the other 2M? This does not account for the unknown legal fees. 1. Shouldn’t we know what we are being charged (monthly, bimonthly?) for legal fees?

2. should I hire a second Atty or accountant to double check their work? Or would that be a waste of funds? I know that is expensive, but I have lost trust in this Atty. Thank you!

1 Lawyer Answer
Julie Fowler
Julie Fowler
  • Omaha, NE
  • Licensed in Nebraska

A: Someone likely entered into a fee agreement with the attorney. The fee agreement likely sets forth how often the attorney will send an updated accounting. You should ask and expect the attorney to generally follow the terms of this agreement.

There should be an accounting of fees whenever the attorney is distributing fees from the client (the estate) to the firm as payment.

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