MATTER OF NICASTRO


186 A.D.2d 805 (1992)

In the Matter of The Estate of Alexander Nicastro, Deceased. Dorothy Nicastro, Individually and as Administratrix of The Estate of Alexander Nicastro, Deceased, et al., Appellants, v. Marion Park, as Executrix of Fred E. Park, Deceased, et al., Respondents

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Department.

October 26, 1992


Ordered that the resettled order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs payable by the appellants personally.

Contrary to the appellants' contention, the Surrogate did not improvidently exercise his discretion in fixing the amount of compensation to which their attorney was entitled. It is settled law that the Surrogate bears the ultimate responsibility of deciding what constitutes reasonable legal compensation (see, Matter of Phelan, 173 A.D.2d 621; Matter of Verplanck, 151 A.D.2d 767), regardless of the existence of a retainer agreement (see, Matter of Lanyi, 147 A.D.2d 644), or whether all of the interested parties have consented to the amount of fees requested (see, Matter of Van Hofe, 145 A.D.2d 424). The evaluation of what constitutes reasonable counsel fees is a matter within the sound discretion of the court (see, De Cabrera v Cabrera-Rosete, 70 N.Y.2d 879, 881), which is in a "`far superior position to judge those factors integral to the fixing of counsel fees such as the time, effort and skill required' * * * and the review of contemporaneous time records" (Lefkowitz v Van Ess, 166 A.D.2d 556, quoting from Shrauger v Shrauger, 146 A.D.2d 955, 956). Applying these principles at bar, we are satisfied that the appellants' attorney was awarded fair and reasonable compensation.

We have examined the parties' remaining contentions and find that they are without merit.


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