Proceedings for review of employment of agents and compensation of personal representatives and employees of estate.
(1) After notice to all interested persons or on petition of an interested person or on appropriate motion if administration is supervised, the propriety of employment of any person by a personal representative including any attorney, auditor, investment advisor, or other specialized agent or assistant, the reasonableness of the compensation of any person so employed, or the reasonableness of the compensation determined by the personal representative for his or her own services, may be reviewed by the court. Any person who has received excessive compensation from an estate for services rendered may be ordered to make appropriate refunds.
(2) Factors to be considered as guides in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:
(a) The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the service properly;
(b) The likelihood, if apparent to the personal representative, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude the person employed from other employment;
(c) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar services;
(d) The amount involved and the results obtained;
(e) The time limitations imposed by the personal representative or by the circumstances;
(f) The nature and length of the relationship between the personal representative and the person performing the services; and
(g) The experience, reputation, and ability of the person performing the services.
Source:Laws 1974, LB 354, § 160, UPC § 3-721; Laws 1980, LB 694, § 10.
Under the Nebraska Probate Code, the Legislature has not expressly provided that a county is responsible for personal representative compensation. Therefore, a court lacks the authority to order a county to pay for a personal representative's fees and expenses. In re Estate of Hutton, 306 Neb. 579, 946 N.W.2d 669 (2020).
Section 30-2405 and this section are part of a scheme to give jurisdiction for the enforcement of probate claims to the county court, and that jurisdiction is concurrent with the jurisdiction of the district court to enforce such claims. Eagle Partners v. Rook, 301 Neb. 947, 921 N.W.2d 98 (2018).
The language of this section does not preclude using the probate claims procedure established in sections 30-2483 through 30-2498. Eagle Partners v. Rook, 301 Neb. 947, 921 N.W.2d 98 (2018).
The factors in this section provide an indication of what facts the Legislature intended to be considered when determining a reasonable fee. In re Estate of Gsantner, 288 Neb. 222, 846 N.W.2d 646 (2014).
If a claim for attorney fees in a probate matter is brought under this section, the burden is on the party challenging the reasonableness of the fee to show excessive compensation. From the date of this opinion forward, all claims for attorney fees in probate matters shall be filed pursuant to this section and not pursuant to section 30-2486. In re Estate of Wagner, 253 Neb. 498, 571 N.W.2d 76 (1997).
When challenging attorney fees awarded from an estate for services rendered, the burden is on the challenger to show excessive compensation. In reviewing the award of attorney fees in cases arising under this section, the standard of review in the district court and appellate courts is for error appearing on the record. In re Estate of Nicholson, 241 Neb. 447, 488 N.W.2d 554 (1992).
The standard of review in both the district court and in the Supreme Court in cases arising under this statute is for error appearing on the record. In re Estate of Snyder, 217 Neb. 356, 348 N.W.2d 136 (1984).