Attorney Fee's and liability of executor.

by Phil
(Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

I was appointed to my deceased grandmothers estate as executor before she passed away. After her passing I paid her unpaid bills ( nursing home, utilities, etc..) The IRS exemted her 2007 Taxes since there was no money in the estate to collect from. Since there is still no money in the estate and the attorneys have not been paid what can I expect as executor?

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Jul 22, 2012
Attorney Fee's and liability of executor

As executor of your grandmother's estate, you were obligated to pay her outstanding debts in a particular order according to their importance as spelled out in the applicable law of her state. This order usually is as follows: payment of burial and funeral costs, payment of expenses associated with your grandmother's final illness (hospitals, medications, and so on), probate fees, including attorney fees, and any estate taxes she may have owed to the federal government or her state government. Only after these high priority expenses are paid can other debts that your grandmother may have owed be paid, assuming there is any money left in her estate to cover them. If there is not, then the unpaid creditors are out of luck -- you are not obligated to pay them out of your personal funds.

Therefore, if you paid low priority debts before the high priority debts and now there is no money left to pay the attorney fees associated with the probate of your grandmother's estate, then I am afraid that the law firm is legally entitled to look to you as for payment. If you want to confirm my information, I recommend you talk with a probate law attorney in the state where your grandmother resides.

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