Can an Attorney for an Estate who is also an Executor Double Dip?

Estate Attorney

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I am frequently asked whether an attorney who is acting as an executor for an estate can receive both an executor’s commission and legal fees for representing the estate.  Although this may sound like a conflict of interest, the short answer in New Jersey is yes, it is specifically allowed under New Jersey Statute 3B:18-6.

As a practical matter, the attorney’s fees are also subject to guidelines as to reasonableness. Unlike Pennsylvania and Florida, where it is common practice to charge a legal fee which is a percentage of the estate, in New Jersey, it is far more common to charge an hourly rate.  So, if an attorney charges a fixed fee, and there was not a lot of legal time involved, a court could reduce the attorney fee.

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