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Determining Reasonableness Of Attorney’s Fees And Costs In Probate And Trust Proceedings

By Brandan J. Pratt, Esq., CFP® and Jennifer L. Fox, Esq.

Motions to determine entitlement and amount of attorney’s fees almost always follow the completion of a trial in trust and estate disputes. There are many articles written about entitlement to attorney’s fees. However, determining entitlement to attorney’s fees is only half the battle. Under Section 733.6175 of the Florida Probate Code, the personal representative has the burden to prove that the attorney’s fees are related to probate and are reasonable. Specifically, Section 733.6175(3) provides that the personal representative has the burden of proof regarding the propriety of the employment of any person that the personal representative employs and the reasonableness of their compensation. In the trust context, Section 736.0206(3) puts the burden of proof of the propriety of the employment and the reasonableness of the compensation on the trustee.

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