If the administrator of an estate lives out of state are they allowed to get reimbursed by the estate for all travel fees, including spouse and children’s flights?

And if so, what happens if they billed the estate more than they actually spent? And or what happens when the administrator of an estate does things in an improper manor? How long can an estate stay as an open case? If belongings and money have been distributed amongst the two trustees and there’s a dispute, what happens then? Does the estate in its entirely have its own separate lawyer or is the same lawyer of the administrator the estates lawyer. Finally, can attorney fees be paid out of the estate. There is no Will.

Asked on August 19, 2014 under Estate Planning, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Ok you have a lot of questions here so I am going to tell you the basics and go from there. Fiduciaries are reimbursed for all legitimate out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the process of management and distribution of the deceased estate.  In addition, they may be entitled to statutory fees in NY, which vary depending on the size of the probate estate, and yes, are paid out of the estate. So spouse and children's flights are probably not reimbursable. An estate stays open as long as necessary to complete probate.  WIth large estates that can be a long time. The Administrator has to fulfill his or her fiduciary duties on behalf of the estate with the highest degree of integrity and can be held liable for mismanagement of estate assets in his or her care.  It is always good to have him or her post a bond so that beneficiaries have something to go against in case of mis management. An attorney for the estate represents the Administrator as well. As for disputes about assets, the objecting party must file an objection.  I do not fully understand your use of "trustee" here so I think more is going on that needs explaining.  I would suggest you seek consultation from an attorney in your area.  Good luck.

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