Factors upon which our fees are based include:
How much time is required;
How unusual or complicated the legal work is;
How quickly the work is required by the client or Court;
Fees for representing an Executor/Administrator are set by probate law
based upon estate size and amount of estate income. A Court may approve
additional fees, but only for extraordinary services.
The Court also approves the legal fees when we represent a Guardian or Conservator.
How much will your fee be?
We will indicate your fee in advance, if possible. However, we cannot always predict how complicated or time consuming a matter will be. Thus, you may receive an estimated fee or an estimated minimum and maximum fee.
Because you are paying us to identify problems and to propose solutions, the more time and skill required, the larger the fee.
For example -- suppose two widowed sisters want the title to their homes changed to joint tenancy with their children; we prepare and record Deeds for each client, but one is charged a higher fee. Why? While true that both clients received the same piece of paper, the similarity may end there. Different property values and variations in age, health, family status, and how each home was acquired and paid for create different tax and non-tax problems.
Sudden changes in a client's health or other family circumstances which accelerate the time within which legal documents must be drafted and signed are given priority. Often such work can be completed only at the inconvenience of other clients. Should we need to reschedule an appointment with you in order to meet such an emergency, we would ask for your cooperation and understanding with the assurance that other clients will be asked to do likewise in the event you were to experience a similar emergency.
How to Keep Your Fee to a Minimum:
Decide your objectives and their priorities before we meet with you.
Give us complete, accurate information. (We need full descriptions of assets to be mentioned specifically in your Will, Trust, etc. We will make copies of your deeds, promissory notes, etc., so you can retain your originals.)
Ask questions of staff members when possible.
Your fees will increase if:
You make major changes to your decisions after we prepare draft documents;
You request work on a rush basis because of events which could have been anticipated, such as a vacation or wedding. As noted above, rush requests are usually accommodated only at the inconvenience of other clients.
Attorneys have different probate/estate planning backgrounds. So do their support staff members. The experienced attorney and staff recognize when and how a client's needs and desires are out of the ordinary and tailor the legal services to the needs and goals of the client accordingly.
Our clients benefit directly from the services of the attorney and staff. In addition, our professional reputation and contacts in the community facilitate coordination of your legal services with accountants, bankers and other financial advisers whose services are necessary to properly implement your plan.
Last modified: 11/24/08