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Estate case in New England continues to highlight example of mounting expenses in probate litigation.

Rising bills and controversy continue to support the Geraldine Webber estate case in New Hampshire as the winning side begins submitting their bills as well. The news on the case began when a doctor who testified as an expert witness for the losing side requested $70,000 in fees.

Originally, Webber’s will dictated that her $2 million estate be given to a local police officer but the probate court threw that will out on the grounds that the officer had unduly influenced Webber. That means that an earlier will should be used to distribute the estate assets. The earlier will divided the estate between two hospitals, the city of Portsmouth, a local school, and a few small beneficiaries.

It was the hospitals that primarily financed the challenge to Webber’s will. Now, the hospitals are asking that a portion of their attorneys’ fees be paid out of the parts of the estate that will go to the city and the school.

One attorney who was hired by the hospitals submitted a total bill of $500,000 and is requesting that the city pay half of it. Another attorney who was hired by four smaller beneficiaries of Webber’s estate is asking that the city be required to pay all of his $110,000 in fees.

The attorneys are also asking that an unspecified amount of the costs be assigned to the school.

Seacoast Online reported this story in “Lawyers seek $360K from Portsmouth’s inheritance.”

While it is important to determine who will pay what portion of the fees on both sides, a more important issue is that a battle for an estate totaling $2 million in assets can create a considerable bill and that is just for the lawyers.

Reference: Seacoast Online (Nov. 8, 2015) “Lawyers seek $360K from Portsmouth’s inheritance.”

For more information on elder law, asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.