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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55324
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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Good afternoon, I met with my lawyer yesterday to close

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Good afternoon,

I met with my lawyer yesterday to close my mothers estate. I think I have been charged an excessive amount in legal fees. Can you tell me if this is so? The lawer was also the executor and I was the sole benificiary of the estate valued at $110,000.00. I know the executor fees are mandated by NYS so there is no question regarding the amount he took for that.($5000.00) The estate was simple, mom only had an outstanding loan she had made and was collecting money on monthly. The lawyer set up a new note and had the loan put in my name last month 06/2013. Mom passed on 11/2/11 and we just closed the estate. He charged $6000.00 in legal fees and I asked him how he came up with his amount and I could not get an answer. After arguing with him for sometime he returned $1000.00 of the amount. So for being the lawyer and executor of her simple and small estate he received a total of $10,000.00. He went to court a few times to collect fees etc. and we have paid an accountant 3 time for a final tax return because the lawyer kept holding the estate open and would not work on getting it closed. He told me that the average time for closing an estate like this one was 3-4 years. Is this normal? I have had to make monthly phone calls to him just to get this completed in this time frame. Help?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good afternoon. 3-4 years for a simple estate is ridiculous. This estate should have been resolved and closed within 6-9 months tops. Due to the amount of the estate, there would have been no need for closing tax letters concerning the estate. I would demand that the lawyer refund all but the original $5,000. I would do this by sending him a demand letter by certified mail and letting him know he can he can either refund the extra $5,000 or you will have no choice but to file: i) a formal ethics complaint with the state bar association; and ii) a legal malpractice claim against him. The letter should be sufficient, but if not file the complaint and the suit to get your money back.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So if i am understanding you correctly, all the legal fees should be returned to me? Any expenses for going to probate court etc should hVe been taken care of out of the executor fees?
Thanks for replying. The attorney should only be paid the statutorily mandated fee and nothing more. Any excess amounts should be refunded.
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