Published on:

Court Determines Guardian ad Litem Fee


This is a hearing in the matter of the last will and testament of the deceased Joseph R. Drab. The probate case is being heard in the Surrogates Court of the state of New York in Nassau County.

Probate Proceeding

The decedent of the case was survived by his spouse, his son Richard, who is the petitioner in the case, four grandchildren, and a predeceased child. The spouse of the decedent is disabled and is therefore represented by a guardian ad litem that has been appointed by the court.

The respondents in the case have demanded 1404 SCPA examinations in the case, but these have not been conducted. The reason is that the parties have entered settlement negotiations in the case.

The will and testament of the decedent left the entire estate to the lifetime trust. The trust leaves the estate to the petitioner, the son of the decedent, excluding the wife and the grandchildren.

A stipulation of settlement has been entered in the case and is waiting approval from the court. Suffolk County Probate Lawyers said the settlement permits the will to be entered into probate and guarantees an elective share to the wife of the decedent and distributes the rest of the assets of the estate into two parts. The first part will be given to the petitioner and the other is to be divided among the grandchildren equally. The court is satisfied with this proposal of settlement and approves.

Guardian Ad Litem Fee

It is now up to the court to determine the appropriate fee to be paid to the guardian ad litem. It is up to the court to determine and approve any legal fees that are to be charged to an estate. The court has the discretion to determine what is considered to be reasonable compensation for the legal services that were provided during the course of administration of an estate.

There are several factors that a court may consider when determining the appropriate amount of legal fees. Long Island Probate Lawyers said these include the time that was spent on the case, the complexity of the issues, the nature of services that were provided, the amount of litigation that was required and the complexity of it, the benefit of the services provided, the experience and reputation of the lawyer, and the customary fee that is charged by the Bar for services of a similar nature.

In this particular case the value of the estate of the decedent at the time of his death was roughly $506,000. The debts and expenses total around $44,400, which leaves a net of about $461,600. The settlement provides the wife with $154,000, which is more than her one third allotted shares. The guardian states that he has spent approximately 31 hours working on this matter. The services provided include interviewing witnesses, visiting his ward, determining the value of his wards share of the estate, ascertaining the value of the estate, participation in settlement negotiations, appearing in court three times, and preparing and filing interim and final reports in the case.

Considering all of the factors in the case, the court has determined that the guardian ad litem will be paid $7500. This amount will come from the elective share of the spouse.

There are many legal facets to consider during a probate case. If you are in this type of situation contact the law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates for help. Our team of lawyers will sit down and discuss your case with you and determine the best course of action. Our offices are located throughout the city of New York for your convenience. You may set up a free consultation at any time.

Contact Information