The question of attorney’s fees has been revisited in the Matter of Eleanor E. Goliger 871 N.Y.S.2d 689. The Appellate Division’s Second Department upheld a decision of Nassau County Surrogate John Riordan which fixed the reasonable value of an attorney’s services to the estate’s executor at $25,000. The problem was that the attorney had billed and received $169,277.59. Her appeal of the court’s order that she return $144,277.59 was unsuccessful and the lower court’s decision was affirmed.
The Appellate Division, in finding that the Surrogate had "providently exercised discretion in fixing the reasonable value of the attorney’s services" also opined that the Surrogate’s Court "bears the ultimate responsibility for deciding what constitutes a reasonable attorney’s fee". In making this determination, it is necessary to take into consideration numerous factors including the size and complexity of the estate, the time and labor expended, the attorney’s experience ability and reputation and the customary fee for such services and the result achieved.