Am I responsible for my mother’s estate bill if it was not billed to me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I responsible for my mother’s estate bill if it was not billed to me?

My sisters and I sought out a lawyer for my mother’s estate. We went in together and signed the retainer together. About 6 months later, the lawyer asked one of us to step up to be in the administrator and I offered. Nothing more was discussed about the bill. For 3 years, I have tried to move this to an end and lawyer has continued to drag her feet about closing out the estate. She only provided us options that would put us at a financial strain some of

which we tried. All 3 years she has sent the bill to all 3 of us myself and my 2 sisters to the wrong address. I finally told her since it had been 3 years we would just wait the 4th year for anything left to fall off because the rest of the estate is not able to be liquidated. At this point she sends her bill with all 3 of my sisters listed on the bill but then sends me an email stating because I volunteered to be the administrator I am solely responsible for paying the bill. Is that true? Does she not have to explain that to me when I volunteered?

Asked on October 9, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the issues that have arisen.  First, get a detailed bill from the attorney as to what she did, how long she spent and the charges. Generally, those that signed the retainer are responsible for the bill.  Next, the estate funds are generally used to pay the fees.  And finally, see if fee arbitration is available in your state, see if the retainer states that you are entitled to same.  Then dispute the bill if there are grounds  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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