Porter, 032117 ALAGO, AGO 2017-23

Docket Nº:AGO 2017-23
Case Date:March 21, 2017
Court:Alabama
 
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Honorable John F. Porter, III
AGO 2017-23
No. 2017-023
Alabama Attorney General Opinions
State of Alabama Office of the Attorney General
March 21, 2017
         Honorable John F. Porter, III          Attorney for Jackson County Sheriff          The Porter Law Group          Northside Courthouse Square          123 East Laurel Street          Scottsboro, Alabama 35768          Sheriffs - Estates - Administrators and Executors - Conservators - Funds          Pursuant to section 43-2-848 of the Code of Alabama, the probate court may award a reasonable fee to the sheriff for serving as personal representative of the decedent's estate subject to the guidelines and restrictions therein.          Pursuant to section 26-2A-142(a) of the Code of Alabama, the probate court may award a reasonable fee to the sheriff for serving as conservator of a protected person's estate.          The fees awarded to the sheriff for serving as a personal representative or conservator must be deposited in the county general fund.          Dear Mr. Porter:          This opinion of the Attorney General is issued in response to your request on behalf of the Jackson County Sheriff.          QUESTION          (1) Where an estate has sufficient funds to pay the administrator's fee, can the sheriff be awarded a reasonable fee for his or her role as personal representative of the decedent's estate pursuant to section 43-2-848 of the Code of Alabama where the sheriff is appointed to such position pursuant to section 43-2-172 of the Code of Alabama?          FACTS AND ANALYSIS          Where there is no appropriate personal representative or county administrator, the probate court may commit the administration of an estate to the sheriff. The administration of the estate attaches to the office of the sheriff and is secured by the official bond of the same. See Ala. Code § 43-2-172 (1991). There are no statutes that specifically provide for or restrict the compensation of the sheriff as personal representative. Section 43-2-848 of the Code of Alabama, however, generally provides for the compensation of the personal representative as follows:
(a) A personal representative is entitled to reasonable compensation for services as may appear to the court to be fair considering such factors that may include, but are not limited to, the novelty and difficulty of the administrative process, the skill requisite to perform the
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