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Can administrator of estate hire a probate attorney?

I think I'm going to be appointed administrator of my mom's estate by the probate court. It is a fairly large estate including real estate and personal property. Is is legal for me to hire help, like an accountant or an attorney, to get me through this (without having to pay for it myself)?

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Yes you can.  If you are appointed administrator, the court will hopefully give you some guidance on this issue.  Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, and because they have important fiduciary duties to the heirs, administrators often hire more than one advisor, including a probate attorney or an accountant.  The estate will pay the costs associated with your administration of the estate, including the cost of hiring these necessary advisers.   Good luck.

UPDATE:  Under the newly enacted Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 190B, the Massachusetts version of the Uniform Probate Code, personal representatives are given many and broad powers, including powers given to them under the old probate law of MA.  In this regard, however, the old probate law and the new are the same:  Personal Representatives have the right to hire advisers, such as attorneys, auditors, investment advisers, etc. on behalf of the estate and to assist her with its administration.  Chapter 190B, Artilcle III, Sectin 3-715(21) grants PRs the power to:
(21) employ persons, including attorneys, auditors, investment advisors, or agents, even if they are associated with the personal representative, to advise or assist the personal representative in the performance of administrative duties; act without independent investigation upon their recommendations; and instead of acting personally, employ 1 or more agents to perform any act of administration, whether or not discretionary

Submitted Wed, 03/05/2014 - 11:42

You absolutely can. If there are assets in the estate, you are entitled to be reimbursed for any up-front expenses out of the estate. Once estate accounts are set up, the estate will usually pay for the attorney directly from the estate account. The question most people have is when the estate is very small and they wonder whether it is worth it to hire an attorney. For very small estates, the process is streamlined so you certainly can do it by yourself or with an attorney who will only need to spend minimal time on it. That way, costs stay low for the smaller estates.

But consultations (in person, by phone, etc.) are free. It is certainly worth consulting with a probate attorney and discussing the process to see if it is the right decision in your case. Feel free to give me a call and/or schedule a time to come in and meet. I am happy to help in any way you would like. You can email me at or call me at 617-859-8966.

Good luck!

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