Am I liable for the probate attorney fees, when I am the personal representative?

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Am I liable for the probate attorney fees, when I am the personal representative?

Probate was  established with my dad’s estate in late 2008 and the house was valued at $325K. I just sold the house in a short sale for $120K. The probate attorney was paid $1K out of the short sale, real estate agents were each paid 2.5% instead of 3%. The Probate Attorney is stating that I owe him $2700 and he wants me to sign a promissory note for the amount or they won’t close the probate. There is no money or assets in the estate. I should have let the house go into forelcosure.

Asked on September 7, 2010 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is such a touchy situation.  Technically the estate is responsible for the probate fees and not you personally unless you acted against the interests of the estate.  Was the attorney helping you with the probate and did he advise you of your options for the estate and how to proceed?  And now he is coming back to you personally for the funds?  Does not seem right.  Do not sign the promissory note.  Maybe what you need to do is have the estate file for bankruptcy and wipe out the fee.  And I hope that you made an agreement with the bank on the short sale as to the deficiency, if any, so that they do not come after the estate either.  You may need to consult with a different attorney on this for your own benefit.  Good luck.


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