Thursday, October 25, 2007

As Rich As Rockefeller

A dispute over, among other things, payment of legal fees in settling the estate of Carolyn Rockefeller was the subject of a decision from the New York Third Department. While it was "a fairly simple estate and the counsel fees were much larger than would be expected" the executor did not breach her fiduciary duty in paying the fees: "[e]very estate decision produced animosity and strife...it is understandable that the estate's counsel were actively and thoroughly involved in every aspect of the estate throughout the course of the estate's administration, thus increasing the legal expenses." However, the court held that it was improper for the executor to pay counsel fees to her former divorce lawyer out of estate funds, as such payments did not benefit the estate. (Mike Frisch)

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