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When settling a probated will, is the executor responsible for for paying the probate attorney out their own money

Hartford, CT |

or does the payment come out of the estate

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Attorney answers 3


Any estate fees and expenses, including those of the estate attorney, should come out of the estate, not out of your own pocket. With that said, when an estate is illiquid, the attorney and the executor may agree that the executor will be personally liable for attorney's fees rather than having the executor sell off estate assets. Such an agreement (which is typically done when the executor is the sole beneficiary) must be set forth in writing and should be done at the beginning of the estate administration. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


In the end, attorney's and other professional fees required to administer the estate are paid for with estate assets. However, in many instances, the funds are not available at the outset and most attorneys will not commence working without a retainer. In those instances, the Executor (or other interested party) may "front" the money and then be repaid with estate funds when possible.

In case you were wondering. The reason that this is an estate expense is because the attorney while working WITH the Executor is working FOR the Estate. Since the attorney's services benefit all of the Legatees under the Will.

Best Wishes!

Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.


The other attorneys are correct - these are expenses of the estate. Think about it, why would any one agree to serve as executor (especially if they are not a beneficiary) if they had to pay their own money to do it?

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:

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