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Is the personal representative entitled to travel expenses for maintaining and selling the homestead?

Miami, FL |

My brother is PR. He maintained the homestead for 18 months with no help. He also prepared the house for sale and found a buyer. The house recently passed (outside of probate) to beneficiaries. In addition to his PR salary (discounted), my brother is demanding to be reimbursed 6000 miles (at 55 cents each) for the 15 times he traveled 400 miles round trip exclusively to maintain and sell the house. I refuse to pay him unless the judge FIRST rules his costs valid... meaning an expensive court date.
Is he entitled to travel costs or should they be paid from his PR salary? My mother was aware that he was 200 miles away when she chose him as PR. Three beneficiaries live locally, but we refused to maintain the home without up-front payment.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

Not sure about your facts about homestead passing outside of probate.
Was the home listed in the probate petition and order requesting to determine it as homestead or was it a life estate with remainderman named?
If your brother was named as PR and the heirs wanted him to sell the homstead-I think he would be entitled to reimbursement of expenses to the extent of assets in the estate(not from beneficiaries directly) and approved by a probate judge.
Fees are not paid from his PR salary.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for answering. Yes, the home was listed in the probate petition and an order was issued determining it to be homestead. Until that happened, my brother maintained the house alone. I think his PR salary is plenty and he doesn't deserve any travel expenses, reimbursement for the mortgage or bills (paid from his pocket) or any labor for the 15 trips and 200+ hours he spent keeping the house. I will challenge him "pro se" so I won't have to pay any attorney fees. His (probate) attorney will charge more for court, but that's not my concern. It's his attorney, so he will have to pay the extra hours.

Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

Posted

His probate attorney can "bill" the estate for his time, research, and attorney fee. You might be better off hiring an attorney to negotiate a settlement of the dispute. Your attorney can negotiate his fees from estate also.

Posted

a PR is generally entitled to reimbursement for reasonable expenses. My suggestion is that you retain independent counsel in FL in the county where probate is occurring to review the documents to determine whether it is worth your while, keeping in mind that generally all of his expenses in legal fees are paid by the Estate while you have to pay yours with no guarantee of reimbursement or contribution from relatives.

Posted

I strongly recommend that you meet with a probate attorney, at least for a consultation, to review and discuss the matter. Depending on how you received the accounting or proposed distribution plan, you may be on a deadline to object or forever be barred from doing so. It may be very wise to have an attorney represent you in this matter rather than trying to do it pro se.

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