CT Supreme Court Grants Executor Fees Despite Beneficiary Criticism
In the case of Andrews v. Gorby, an attorney challenged the decision of the Superior Court in the judicial district of Fairfield (Connecticut), which affirmed the ruling of the probate court and ruled that the attorney was not entitled to attorney's fees for his services as executor of the decedent's estate.
The attorney was appointed executor of the decedent's estate. In the final account of the estate the attorney submitted a substantial bill for his executor's fee as well as attorney's fee. The decedent’s beneficiary objected, and after a hearing the probate court reduced the bill for the executor's fee significantly and rejected attorney's fees. The superior court affirmed. On review, the court found that the superior court's conclusion was not based upon an independent assessment of the facts established in the trial before that court because there was no record. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. Furthermore, the court found that the testator's will provided a schedule of fees for the attorney that were almost double the prevailing rate. The court then ruled that as a matter of public policy, an attorney who drafts a will that names the attorney as executor and contains a fee schedule for his compensation, as executor is limited to reasonable compensation regardless of the schedule. Finally, the burden would rest on the attorney to prove the reasonableness of the compensation requested. Thus, the case was reversed and remanded.
Appellate court's decision that the attorney was not entitled to attorney's fees was reversed and remanded. Even though the decedent's will provided a fee schedule that the court found to be unreasonable, the attorney was still entitled to a reasonable sum of attorney's fees.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a probate law attorney about a will, trust, or estate matter, please contact the experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.
For continual access to the legal world, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. We offer the latest updates on caselaw and legal news. In addition, informational videos are available for your convenience on our Youtube channel.
Source: Andrews v. Gorby, 237 Conn. 12, 675 A.2d 449, 1996 Conn. LEXIS 134 (Conn. 1996)
Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer