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Legal Ease
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Can a lawyer draft a will and name himself as executor and

Customer Question

Can a lawyer draft a will and name himself as executor and also collect legal fees for his work?
If a will has two executors, what is the maximum % they can be paid from the estate and who establishes or what law governs how much they can pay themselves?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 5 years ago.
What province is this please?

What does the Will say about executor fees?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Not sure if the question is clear. My uncle's lawyer drafted his will and is named as an executor in that will. After my uncle died, can he charge both his fees as a lawyer to handle the probate as well as take a % fee as an executor. He is one of two executors named in the will. Can they both take a % for their work and if so are there limits on how much they can take? Who or what laws govern this and is 5% for both of them fair? Or high? The estate was valued at $1.311 million and together they felt that trustee fees of $65,000 was fair. Not sure how they are dividing that, but he is also claiming legal and accounting fees of $23,525 and probate fees of $22,525. I did the math and believe the probate fees should be $18, 680. I am debating on whether to file a complaint against this attorney.
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 5 years ago.
I understand completely.

But what I first need to know is whether the Will addresses executor fees or not and if it does what it says.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The will states under Compensation:
"I authorize my Trustee to take at reasonable intervals from the income and capital of my estate amounts on account of compensation which my Trustee reasonably anticipates will be requested at the end of the accounting period in progress, either upon the audit of the estate accounts or on approval by the beneficiaries of my estate. If the amount subesquently awarded on court audit or agreed to by the beneficiaries is less than the amount so taken, the excess shal be repaid to my esate without interest.
Any Trustee of my will being a solicitor, accountant or stock broker, or other person engaged in any profession or business, shall be entitled to charge and be paid all usual professional fees or other charges for business transacted, time expended and acts done by him or his firm in connection with the administration of my estate and the trusts of my will including acts which a trustee not being in any profession or business could have done personally.
Does this second paragraph allow him to charge fees and take an executor fee? And if so, is that legal or a conflict of interest under Canada law? What about limits?
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 5 years ago.
I just received a phone call and have to run out to pick up kid that is not feeling well.

I will answer as soon as I get back.

I am very sorry.
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 5 years ago.
I am very sorry for the unexpected delay.

Executors and lawyers can both charge an estate. Usually the executors pay the legal fees from their executor fees and if there are co-executors they split the fees.

There may be some double dipping here to say the least.

Also, the fees always need to be reasonable and what is reasonable is often dependent on what has been done, the complexity of the estate, the time spent etc.

A Court would not automatically say that the 2.5 % rule in and our always applies.

I would suggest that you briefly sit down with an estate lawyer and run all the details by the lawyer and get his/her opinion.

What you can do to find a lawyer is one of the following things.

You can contact the Law Society and use their Lawyer Referral Service. You will be given the name of a lawyer and can consult with the lawyer and the first half hour will be free.

The number is:

1-800-268-8326 or(NNN) NNN-NNNN(within the GTA)

Or you can check on a site called lexpert. This is a legal directory of leading lawyers and law firms throughout Canada and is well-respected by the legal community.

Here's the link to their website:

http://www.lexpert.ca/Directory/DirectoryContent/FindLawyersOrFirm.aspx

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