Jeffrey Skatoff summarizes a recent opinion of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal, In Faulkner v. Woodruff, 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 3185 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Mar. 6, 2015).
In Faulkner v. Woodruff, a probate estate was opened with under $5,000 in personal property and a homestead residence. The attorney for the personal representative charged $39,869 in attorney fees for work performed in the “uncontested” proceeding. The estate PR, Mr. Faulkner, then filed a petition to review his attorney’s compensation in his capacity as an interested person and as PR, which the probate court dismissed on grounds that (1) Mr. Faulkner was required to interplead himself into the proceedings as a respondent in the matter, even though he was the petitioner; and (2) the probate court was not the proper venue to determine the reasonableness of attorney fees; instead a suit for unjust enrichment or a proceeding before the Florida Bar was required. The appellate court reversed on a variety of grounds summarized by Mr. Skatoff.
Read full article summarizing case at Probate Court Has Jurisdiction to Review Attorney Fees | Burden of Proof on Attorney.