How does a probate attorney get paid?
At some point in your life, you will require the assistance of probate lawyers. After all, estate planning and will creation are actions you must take in your life to ensure that your heirs and beneficiaries are not negatively affected later on.
Yet, many people don’t comply. In fact, according to the American Bar, more than 55 percent of Americans don’t have a will in place before their deaths. And 71 percent of Americans haven’t updated their wills.
Don’t be among them. Make sure to hire a probate lawyer when the need arises. We are certain that legal costs are bound to come to your mind when you think about estate planning.
Types of fee
There are different types of fees that probate lawyers can choose to charge from. Depending on the state you live in, the common practice may vary. Therefore, probate lawyers Dallas TX, may charge their clients differently compared to states like California or Florida.
Here the three main types of fee classifications.
Charging hourly rates is by far the most common type of expense that lawyers charge. As the name suggests, in this type of fee, the probate lawyer charges by the hour. What will the charge be? Well, this depends on the standard rates of your area, along with the expertise and demand of the given lawyer.
Hence, a general practitioner may charge lesser than specialist lawyers. Similarly, those operating in a rural areas will charge less. For instance, lawyers that practice in rural areas can be billed $150/hour, while those in urban areas may demand an average rate of $200/hour.
Some probate lawyers tend to charge a flat fee. Attorneys may choose to charge a lump sum amount if they are aware of the complexity of the task and how long it will take them to get the case sorted.
Many probate lawyers prefer this method of payment because it means that they don’t have to keep a close tab on how the paralegals and lawyers working on the case are spending their time. Additionally, attorneys find that most clients prefer services where they don’t feel that the time is running out.
From a clients’ perspective, when a lawyer quotes a flat fee, it is imperative to understand what the expense will cover. Generally, additional expenses like court filing are not included. Therefore, ask the details beforehand.
Lawyers can choose to collect their fee as a percentage of the total value of the estate they are planning. As a client, you don’t necessarily have to accept such demands. Instead, you can negotiate with your lawyer to charge through the first two categories.
Note that only a few states allow probate lawyers to charge a fee in this manner. This includes Florida, Arkansas, Iowa, California, Missouri, Wyoming, and Montana.
Understanding Probate Costs and Legal Fee
Oftentimes, people tend to think that once they pay the fee to the probate lawyer, they don’t have to worry about any other legal expense moving forward. This is not the case.
Instead, a probate lawyer only charges for his/her expertise. All miscellaneous expenses that may arise during the court proceedings are an additional legal fee that the client must pay.
This can include:
· Court filing fee
· Publication fee of legal notices
· Property appraisals
· Postage fee
· Real estate deeds recording fee
But, who pays?
Another question that people often ask about probate lawyer fees is regarding who has to bear the brunt of the cost. Many think that an executor has to solely pay for it. This is not the case. Instead, the money is taken from the estate before all the assets are distributed to the heirs. So, technically, the heirs pay for it.
Write it down
Once you have decided on a probate lawyer and have negotiated a fee for their service, make sure to get the agreement in writing. Unless you write it down and make it official, nothing is set in stone.
Your fee agreement should ideally cover:
· The type of fee being charged by each lawyer, paralegal, or legal assistant working on the case
· The name of the lawyer who will serve as the point of contact
· An estimate of the total number of hours or the total cost that the client will incur
· Separate expenses that must be paid
· The frequency of payments that the client must comply with (lump sum or monthly fee)
· Payment due date
Now that you are well-versed on the type of fee a probate attorney may charge, go ahead and find one for your estate planning needs.
Make sure to conduct thorough research beforehand about the lawyer you choose. This will allow you to ensure that the best professional represent you for legal matters.
Audrey Throne has an ongoing affair with the words that capture readers’ attention. Her passion for writing dates back to her pre-blogging days. She loves to share her thoughts related to business, technology, health and fashion.
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