My uncle passed away without a will. My aunt, his sister, was assigned as executor of the estate. The property is being sold and now she is asking for reimbursement of costs. What information can we request from her?

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My uncle passed away without a will. My aunt, his sister, was assigned as executor of the estate. The property is being sold and now she is asking for reimbursement of costs. What information can we request from her?

My uncle passed away and did not have a will. My aunt, his sister, sent paperwork to be named as executor. 4 of the 5 heirs signed approval. The property is currently being sold, she has sent paperwork telling us how much the property will be sold for a potential sale is in place but has not documented any further information. As an heir, do we have a right to ask for documented proof of the costs she is telling us she has incurred? She is providing very little information and has hired a lawyer-who does not give us any information-can she ask for reimbursement for a lawyer she hired?
Thank you- D. Nates

Asked on March 20, 2017 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  In South Carolins the personal representative of an estate may indeed collect compensation for the execution of their duties on an estate.  A personal representative may also hire an attorney to help with the probate process and yes, the attorney is also compensated for his or her work BY THE ESTATE.  If you are the beneficiaires then you are also entitled to an accounting.  As for selling the house below market value, that could be an issue and I would suggest that you contact an attorney yourself to inquire for you.  Here is the law on compensation for personal representative.  Good luck.
Universal Citation: SC Code § 62-3-719 (2013)
(a) Unless otherwise approved by the court for extraordinary services, a personal representative shall receive for his care in the execution of his duties a sum from the probate estate funds not to exceed five percent of the appraised value of the personal property of the probate estate plus the sales proceeds of real property of the probate estate received on sales directed or authorized by will or by proper court order, except upon sales to the personal representative as purchaser. The minimum commission payable is fifty dollars, regardless of the value of the personal property of the estate.
(b) Additionally, a personal representative may receive not more than five percent of the income earned by the probate estate in which he acts as fiduciary. No such additional commission is payable by an estate if the probate judge determines that a personal representative has acted unreasonably in the accomplishment of the assigned duties, or that unreasonable delay has been encountered. 


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