Attorney's fees incurred for representation of an estate or trust by the representative (i.e. a guardian, successful petitioner, trustee, executor, or administrator) are usually allowed to be paid from the funds of the estate or trust.
Attorney's fees in guardianship estates require advance approval by the probate court and must be reasonable. The court bases fee awards on the following factors: size of the estate; time expended as shown on detailed time records; nature of the services performed; skill level of the attorney; customary fees in the area for similar services; results achieved; the novelty of the issues presented by the case; the experience level of the attorney; benefit conferred on the estate; good faith and the efficiency of estate administration.
Attorney's fees incurred by individuals for representation of their own interests in estate or trust matters (i.e. pursuing claims against an estate, defense of citations to discover or recover assets, contesting a will or trust, etc.) or estate planning are the responsibility of the individual client. Attorney's fees in such matters are charged on an hourly basis.
Attorney's fees in injury litigation on behalf of disabled persons and decedents in nursing home and personal injury matters are charged on a contingent fee basis (a percentage of the recovery made).