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How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Probate Lawyer?

Jorge JohnsonSeptember 27, 2022

Probate can be both time-consuming and complicated, which is why most people hire a probate attorney. Nevertheless, it is important to know how much an attorney charges as well as what other expenses may be incurred.

Here we will examine common probate attorney fees and the different payment structures that attorneys may charge, as well as how they are determined.

Hourly Fees

Various factors determine a probate attorney's hourly rate, such as experience, the estate's nature, and the office's location. The hourly rate generally ranges between $150 and $400. As an example, a more experienced probate lawyer in New York City might charge $400 per hour compared to an inexperienced lawyer in a smaller town that charges $150 per hour.

Regardless of the hourly rate, the total cost of probate proceedings is not determined by it alone. A number of other expenses, such as filing fees and appraisals, may also accumulate quickly. For this reason, it is important to obtain an estimate from your attorney in advance of letting them deal with the probate.

Fixed Rates

The fixed-rate fee structure for a probate attorney means that there is a single fee for all work the attorney performs on their behalf. Fee arrangements such as these are beneficial to both the client and the lawyer since they provide a level of predictability in terms of cost and enable them to budget accordingly.

Additionally, a fixed fee structure motivates the attorney to be efficient and to complete the probate process on time. These reasons are among the reasons why clients prefer probate attorneys who charge a fixed fee.

Contingency Fees

Contingency fees are agreed upon by a lawyer as an alternative to billing by the hour and are based on a set percentage of the case's total recovery. In the absence of a recovery, the lawyer is not compensated.

It is common for probate lawyers to charge between 30% and 40% of the total estate value recovered when working on contingency. As an example, if an estate is recovered for $100,000, an attorney will charge between $30,000 and $40,000. There is no single percentage for all cases. It depends on the complexity of the project and how much work needs to be done.

There may also be situations in which the attorney receives a percentage of the recovery from the creditor or another party. Be sure to ask about a probate attorney's fee structure if you plan to hire one.

Additional Costs To Consider

There is also a retainer fee that probate attorneys charge. An upfront retainer fee is a lump sum payment the client pays, which might be used for filing fees, assessments, or other unforeseen expenses. Attorney retainer fees are usually non-refundable regardless of whether the case is resolved.

Probate attorneys may also charge additional fees for tasks including will preparation, valuation of assets, and administration of estates. Fees are usually assessed hourly and are often deducted from the estate assets.

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