My sister and I were solely named heirs excluding bequests in the will of an estate in Illinois (IL) worth roughly a million dollars. The estate is being processed through probate. A lawyer was named as the Executor in the will. The estate was extremely well organized; assets were denominated in large dollar amounts to reduce the number of assets. The Executor has proceeded to charge between $250/hr and $325/hr. Until recently, as we approach the closing of the estate, the Executor has withheld the details of his billing practices. We were both surprised by the amount as it is significantly higher than the initial forecasts of both the deceased and the Executor (2X the former's figure). The collective activities of the Executor and his agents were charged at an average rate of $200/hr. (1) Is this a reasonable rate? (Tasks were not of a legal nature and often seemed to take much longer than reasonably necessary to complete.) (2) What is the reasonable number of hours required to close an estate? I have seen that Florida (FL) and Pennsylvania (PA) place limitations on reasonable fees of 3% of the estate value, but apparently IL allows the Executor to charge up to 10%. Suffice it to say that the lawyer seems to be taking trying to take full advantage of this law. Moreover, this particular lawyer serves on the Attorney Review and Disciplinary Committee (ARDC) in the area. (3) Does this matter? The Executor has acted as both the Executor and a lawyer. (4) Is that ethical given the conflict of interest? (5) Isn't it a conflict-of-interest that the Executor can set his own hourly rate at the expense of the estate? (6) Is there some sort of fiduciary requirement of an Estate Executor?
The whole situation is very frustrating. Thank you in advance for any useful information you can provide.