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Thread: Lawyer Am I wrong.

  1. #1

    Lawyer Am I wrong.

    I have been putting off getting a living will and a will or living trust done. I called a lawyer today and was going to make an appointment, but I wanted to get an estimate of the cost. 300.00 an hour, I get it, if it takes 8 hours to get it done, then I am out 2400. What I got over the phone well basically 300.00 to talk to them, which would be rolled into to the total cost but no info of any kind of the total cost. I am not giving someone a blank check. I would have been ok if they would have said you can expect no more than a specified amount. RANT OVER.
    rrh

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Check out 'Legal Zoom.com".

    They did a good job for us on a Living Trust.


    Of the products and services they offer--- they've held up in court in all 50 states.

    Don't put it off.
    My Mom passed away and had a standard type will.
    With a attorney the wife worked with, we were in and out of probate in a few minutes,
    a couple days after the county issued her death certificate and it could be put on the docket for the court.

    My Dad wouldn't get one--- it made him feel old.
    When he passed away, with a friendly court and old family friend lawyer-
    It cost a little more for the probate, and also added 6 months onto the process to wait
    for 'unnamed heirs' to come forward before the judge would sign off and release his estate.
    During that time, his bank accounts were locked down, so I got to pay the taxes & maintence
    on his house & cars, and couldn't sell or otherwise dispose of them.
    Just the taxes for holding his house off the market for 7 months were a 'hidden' expense of a few thousand dollars.


    If it will fit for you, a living trust takes the court out of the process, and is real hard to contest.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 05-22-2020 at 06:19 PM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master



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    (+) One on LegalZoom.com. Used them to do our will 10 years ago, and then updated it again with them 2 years ago.


    You might also look at the "Dave Ramsey" recommended solution. He is philosophically conservative and fiscally conservative so I listen to his broadcast off and on via radio when driving on occasion. His solution can be found at: https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-make-a-will
    Mustang

    "In the beginning... the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." - Mark Twain.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master knifemaker's Avatar
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    Redriverhunter, if that attorney is wanting 300 bucks per hour to draw up a living will in his office, he is trying to bend you over and shove a sharp stick up your backside. In my area that per hour fee is reserved for being in court fighting for your client. Use legal Zoom or call around for a more reasonable attorney in your area.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    A number of lawyers have a flat fee for drawing up wills and estates ($500 from my local attorney). $300 an hour with no cap is excessive to say the least.
    Make no mistake -- They will remember how easily you surrendered your rights.

  6. #6
    Vendor Sponsor Big Tom's Avatar
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    At my company, we have a (voluntary) legal insurance for $25/month and besides legal advice, they also provide lawyers to write a will - may be worth checking that path out. I signed up for it for the same reason - needed a will and with a 12 months commitment for the insurance, it will cost me $300 in worst case.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Tazlaw's Avatar
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    I can’t comment on any state other than Arkansas but......
    A living will is nothing more than a document telling doctors what to do as far as prolonging your life in the event of something like a heart attack. Without a living will the docs will try to save your life ie CPR, heart shocking,....you really only need one if you have a terminal condition and don’t want the docs to break all your ribs because you had a heart attack. It says let you die in as much comfort as possible.

    A regular Will is different. It says what to do with all your stuff when you die. Prices can vary depending on how complicated. If you have $1.38 in the bank like me then it won’t cost much. Plenty of online self help forms are available. For instance:

    Arlegalservices.org

    Had a bunch of self help forms. I’m sure most states have a “legal aid” group that can help with more simple stuff.

    One thing that is a pet peeve is on regular will ALL potential heirs must be named. Even if you want to give them the finger, you have to name them. Otherwise they can say “he forgot me” and possibly get the will thrown out.

    Disclaimer: this comment is not to be construed as legal advice given to any particular person. Got to love lawyer talk!

    Tazlaw

    P.s. I hate it when lawyers think they are so high and mighty and better than you. I got pissed off and went to law school later in life. I promise you, I am no better than any other person because of it.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Just knowing enough to do it, is not enough to do it right! -Taz

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I just did a living will for the wife and I and met with the lawyer twice, one to talk about what kind of will/trust would work best for us and the second meeting for the details of the will plus as many copies that we wanted.
    Total cost $200.
    Previously we had another lawyer who talked us into a trust and sent us previews with what we had told her, changes were requested which she ignored and kept sending back previews with wrong info, we had paid her a beginning cost of $400, total had been quoted $700 to $900, after her ignoring our requests we just stopped communicating and went with the second law firm. No way of knowing she was a flake until after a while so that was the price it cost us.

    Edit to say that it was a regular will with the living will stipulation along with it.
    Last edited by tunnug; 05-23-2020 at 09:24 AM.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Tazlaw's Avatar
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    Ps.
    Most hospitals have a living will form you can fill out for free. At least they do have them here.
    Just knowing enough to do it, is not enough to do it right! -Taz

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I paid $600.00 for the whole nine yards. All the stuff you need to die with my business included. They keep a copy in there safe also in case you loose yours fire etc.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    For starters, Fees are negotiable. Attorneys don't work for free but that doesn't mean you have to settle on the first asking price.

    Unless you have some really complex financial situation, a will shouldn't take that long to create. Most of the time is consultation, not the actual time needed to draw up the will.
    Ask the attorney about the fee right up front. If you don't like the answer, go to another attorney. If you show up prepared for the consultation, it shouldn't take that long to lay out what you own and what your wishes are. Come prepared, have bank account numbers, deeds, locations of safe deposit boxes, names of executors, addresses, phone numbers, etc. The more work you do up front, the less work the attorney will be able to bill you for. You're the one paying for that time, use it wisely.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master dbosman's Avatar
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    Unless you have a complicated estate, a fixed or flat rate should be fair. If you can't do your taxes using online forms, then you probably need specific expert advice.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Painting with broad brush strokes here from personal experience in FLORIDA. YMMV.

    Documents worth investigating include:
    1.) Living Will
    2.) Durable Power of Attorney
    3.) Health Care Surrogate
    4.) Last Will and Testament
    5.) [Named Individual] Revocable Trust.

    Documents 1.), 2.), and 3.) are pre-written forms with "fill in the blanks" for names. If you use one, an attorney's office should expect a reasonable FLAT FEE for filling in those form blanks on your behalf - as the EASY PART of your more expensive and complicated "exit strategy" documents. You can find these easy forms yourself, FREE, on-line. Download, READ them thoroughly, understand their implications, fill in your own blanks, sign, have notarized, and save. They are, relatively speaking, self explanatory.

    Complications and significant attorney and Court fees arise in documents 4.) and 5.). Everyone is different. Last Wills and Trusts are thoroughly different for each and every one. You NEED a Will. You can MAKE YOUR OWN if you wish. Don't leave a HUGE HOLE in your exit strategy by not having a Will.

    If you use an attorney, how much you pay for a Will depends on how complicated it is. A lot of the document is specific to your state. There are MANY twists and turns in the PROBATE Court of your state. Probate IS a blank check to the attorney handling the estate...unless you are able to find an attorney [from Heaven] willing to do it for a flat fee.

    It is not unreasonable to pay $1,500 to [the sky's the limit] for a TRUST and you may not NEED a Trust. Establishing a REVOCABLE TRUST is designating, through the Court in advance of your demise, the transfer of your titled property into a "fluid" document, which you can at any time change up to, but not after, your death, that IMMEDIATELY upon your death transfers titles to the beneficiary. No dispute over transfer. STILL, a Probate Court will have to CERTIFY the Trust. Trusts ARE expensive and maybe you do and maybe you don't need a Trust.

    PROBATE, the legal determination of who gets what after your demise, is made MUCH simpler, though not necessarily cheaper, through your LAST WILL and Revocable Trust (if there is one).

    For example, here is a list of many of the Court filed probate documents - I just lived through - being the beneficiary of and Personal Representative for an estate and Revocable Trust. For two (2) years, it was not an easy time. In fact, it was VERY DIFFICULT following the loss (and still is), to deal with the volume of WORK that was necessary to resolve the estate and trust. An attorney WAS necessary and it COST PLENTY.

    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  14. #14
    Thank you for all the replies and advice. I have been looking at legal zoom and it looks doable thanks.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man 1006's Avatar
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    My experience was similar to TinSnips.

    Paid $500–ten years ago- for a lawyer to draw up a will. It took about 90 minutes of consulting with him and my wife and myself. Then we left, he drew it up in about a week, we signed it and took a copy home, he kept a copy, and filed a copy with the county. When one of us dies, it is already accessible to the court—so no hanky panky from any contrary people will interfere with our wishes.

    The lawyer was worth the money, he knew exactly how to word our wishes. It was complicated by our kids needs. One kid was in High School, one in College, one grown with children. The attorney was able to include language that provided any kid still finishing their first College degree with money to finish before the remainder of the estate would be divided equally between them. I am down to one kid left in school, and the will has never needed updating, and will not need updating unless we move to another State, because of the way it is worded.


    If you are worried about being stuck on a feeding tube or life support, you need the document notarized and on file with people you trust to carry out your wishes. My parents did this, and it helped us all a great deal. One died of a brain tumor and the other went to a memory care facility after a stroke. It was nice to know that they did not want a feeding tube, or life support of any kind before they could no longer tell us.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1006 View Post
    My experience was similar to TinSnips.

    Paid $500–ten years ago- for a lawyer to draw up a will. It took about 90 minutes of consulting with him and my wife and myself. Then we left, he drew it up in about a week, we signed it and took a copy home, he kept a copy, and filed a copy with the county. When one of us dies, it is already accessible to the court—so no hanky panky from any contrary people will interfere with our wishes.

    The lawyer was worth the money, he knew exactly how to word our wishes. It was complicated by our kids needs. One kid was in High School, one in College, one grown with children. The attorney was able to include language that provided any kid still finishing their first College degree with money to finish before the remainder of the estate would be divided equally between them. I am down to one kid left in school, and the will has never needed updating, and will not need updating unless we move to another State, because of the way it is worded.


    If you are worried about being stuck on a feeding tube or life support, you need the document notarized and on file with people you trust to carry out your wishes. My parents did this, and it helped us all a great deal. One died of a brain tumor and the other went to a memory care facility after a stroke. It was nice to know that they did not want a feeding tube, or life support of any kind before they could no longer tell us.
    /\ This is right on point /\

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    When I retired I closed out my 401K plan and moved it to a trusted friend that is a financial advisor. I met with him, my accountant and an Attorney that specializes in estate planning. We set up a living will, a regular will, I got a broad coverage liability insurance policy and set up an estate. I think it was around $1500.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    No offense to the lawyers on here . . . but . . . here's my 2 cents worth.

    About fifteen years ago, my wife and I went to the lawyer we use (a good guy and I like him) and we set up our Trust, had our Living Wills, Wills, medical POA, etc. done - it cost around $2,000.00 at that time. O.K. . . well it's done and we have taken care of it. Now I realize things change and we really need to re-do our Wills as we have no children, some of the beneficiaries are now deceased, etc. The last time I met with the same lawyer a couple of years ago on some real-estate business, he brought up that "some of the laws have changed" and we really should "re-do" our Trust, etc. This really hit me the "wrong way" as the Trust should be fine as it is written. Funny thing - you pay all that money to have the work done and then down the road "the laws get changed" - who write/change the laws? - the state legislature of whom many are lawyers.

    Yep . . . it is important to get your estate planning done and especially to get your Living Wills, medical POA, etc. done as you "never know". The last thing a person wants is to be unable to make medical decisions for themselves and not have it in writing as to what measures they want taken or who they want to make their decisions for them.

    What grinds me is that while an attorney is certainly entitled to be paid for their time and knowledge, so many of the documents are now on computer and the secretary puts in the appropriate information into the template, the attorney reviews it, makes changes, etc. and it is pointed. Not like the old days when the attorney wrote it up, the secretary had to type multiple copies, etc. The same attorney we used, if I call him about anything, the clock starts from the time he picks up the phone with a minimum billing for 15 minutes. BUT, I can't begin to add up the times that he has asked me questions about something that fell under my "expertise" but never offered to pay me for my time in answering and he would have a stroke if I presented him with a statement for my time in answering "his" questions.

    I can remember when my folks set up their Trusts, Wills, etc. I was with them and I remember their attorney telling them that the $2,000 or so they paid to set everything up in Trust form would save them at least $10,000 in fees if their estate was not set up in Trusts and had to be probated. Hmmmm . . . after they were gone and my wife and I were the Trustees, by the time we got their estate "settled" (and everything was in Trusts), I had to write a check to the same attorney for close to $11,000.00 for legal advice and assistance in getting everything taken care of and the Trusts closed. I kept my mouth shut though and didn't remind him of what he had told my folks at the time they set up their Trusts about how much they would be saving by not having to go through probate.

    While nobody likes dealing with with these things, it's a "necessary evil" and everyone should get it taken care of even if they are "younger" and "feel invincible" - especially those young ones who are weave earners, are married, have kids or have assets. An attorney ought to be able to tell you a price for doing the work - if they want to leave it "open ended" - then move on and find another attorney who you are comfortable with and who will give you a price for setting up what you need for your situation.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I forgot the proper term, but I found a local attorney that just deals with the aged and all of the planning and legal documents for long term care/living will, death, and inheritance.

    He even took care of filling for a Ladybird Deed on my house. It may be called something else in other states. It’s a must have to protect your children’s inheritance. With this deed, if you go into a nursing home they cannot take away your house for payment. The nursing home is forced to accept Medicare. This way your heirs retain ownership of your home.

    Everything tax, title, and license was about $400. They included two hard copies and a thumb drive.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy Tazlaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LUBEDUDE View Post
    I forgot the proper term, but I found a local attorney that just deals with the aged and all of the planning and legal documents for long term care/living will, death, and inheritance.

    He even took care of filling for a Ladybird Deed on my house. It may be called something else in other states. It’s a must have to protect your children’s inheritance. With this deed, if you go into a nursing home they cannot take away your house for payment. The nursing home is forced to accept Medicare. This way your heirs retain ownership of your home.

    Everything tax, title, and license was about $400. They included two hard copies and a thumb drive.
    In Arkansas they call it Elder law.
    Just knowing enough to do it, is not enough to do it right! -Taz

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