No one here is going to be able to answer this question without knowing the specifics. You'll have to pay him and finish up.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/
Unless your court has a self-service center with the appropriate forms and instructions, you need to pay the fees, which come from estate assets, and get the estate closed.
Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.
I agree with my colleagues. $1,000 does not seem excessive, to close the estate.
***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!
Lots of problems here. There is almost no reason why an estate should be under administration that long. Perhaps there are some illiquid or unmarketable assets or other very unique oddity. (example: intellectual property which is itself tied up in litigation). Absent that, you should have been done long ago. Second, in a decedent's estate, there is a presumed minimum fee based upon value of assets administered (see 473.153). The attorney can petition for additional fees if the statutory fee is inadequate. If such a filing is made, scrutinize it thoroughly. Unfortunately, it sounds like you are dealing with an attorney who doesn't spend much time in probate and is unfamiliar with normal billing procedures and may not know what final steps need to be taken to terminate administration. Don't blindly through more money at the problem.
INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVISE IS RECOMMENDED. The forgoing opinion is based upon limited and hypothetical information. The answer provided is not intended as a substitute for legal representation and is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship.