Home JOSEPH K. WORDELL, administrator, vs. BENJAMIN W. GRIM, trustee.

236 Mass. 406

October 26, 1920 - October 26, 1920

Bristol County


Probate Court, Exceptions. Attorney at Law.

An exception to a refusal by a single justice, hearing an appeal from a decree of the Probate Court modifying a final account of an executor by lessening the amount allowed for services and disbursements of counsel, to rule that the amounts charged in the account for such items were not unreasonable, brings to this court no question of law.

APPEAL from a decree of the Probate Court for the county of Bristol upon the first and final account of the executrix of the will of George W. Hall, late of Westport, wherein, among other modifications of the account, items for services and disbursements of the counsel for the executrix amounting to $9,427.65 were reduced to $1,447.68.

The appeal was heard by Crosby, J. The appellant asked for rulings of law, all of which were given excepting the ninth, which was refused, and which was as follows:

"9. Where, as in the case at bar, a contested will made by a person under guardianship as a non compos mentis is admitted to probate after an appeal, adjustments have been made of the controversies arising out of the conditions of the estate, by one of which real estate of the value of $4,000 or more has been secured to the estate, and from $2,400 to $4,700 saved to the estate on charges by a guardian, and special administrator and his attorneys, and about $500 on other accounts, the entire estate aggregating more than $30,000, and the services extending over a period of more than three years, the sum paid as counsel fees and the charges for services and for additional counsel fees in this account are not unreasonable."

The single justice ordered a decree affirming the decree of the Probate Court; and the appellant alleged exceptions.

A. G. Weeks, for the appellant, submitted a brief.

R. C. Estes, for the trustee.

Page 407

BY THE COURT . This case comes before us on exceptions taken before a single justice on the trial of an appeal from a decree of the Probate Court allowing with modifications an account of an executrix. The chief issue was the value of legal services rendered by an attorney in the proof of the will and the settlement of the estate. The single justice found that it was difficult to determine the amount of time spent by the attorney in connection with the various affairs of the estate and found on all the evidence that the sum allowed by the judge of the Probate Court was reasonable and adopted it as his own finding. The ninth request of the appellant involved no ruling of law but related wholly to facts. Its denial was in no way inconsistent with the granting of all the several requests for rulings of law presented by the appellant. The record discloses no question of law for our decision. The whole controversy between the parties was purely one of fact. The findings made are not irrational and might have been made on the evidence.

Exceptions overruled.