In many cases, elder law attorneys will charge an hourly fee for an initial consultation.Any subsequent fees will be based on the type of legal services provided. For example, the fees for probate services are set by state statute, which makes it easy to know what to expect. Often, however, an elder law attorney can quote a flat fee for further planning services at the completion of the initial consultation.
What Type of Legal issues do elder law attorneys handle?
As with other legal specialties, there are specific legal issues that most elder law attorneys will handle. Those issues typically include estate planning, Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage for long-term care, administration of estates for adults, trust matters, and probate matters.
As noted above, in most cases, elder law attorneys charge a flat rate for the services they provide. However, because each client’s needs are different it can be difficult to provide an itemized list of services and applicable rates. At the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law, the costs and fees for any plan we propose will be explained to you in advance.
Common elder law services provided by our firm
Elder law is a legal specialty that includes comprehensive estate planning. That basically means we can help you create a plan ahead of time that specifies how you want your property to be distributed after your death. When it comes to estate planning for seniors, that plan can also include care instructions in the event you become disabled or incapacitated in some way. You can also use this planning for long-term care and retirement.
What do I need to know before my first appointment?
While there are common types of legal matters with which elder law attorneys are familiar, not all elder law attorneys are experienced at handling every legal area. For that reason, it is a good idea to ask before your first appointment whether the elder law attorneys can handle your specific issues.
It is also a good idea to ask what is the fee for the initial consultation. You can also ask if there is any particular information or documents that you need to bring to that initial consultation. This can save time and prevent the need to reschedule another appointment just to provide the necessary documents.
Attorney fees for probate work
The state of California imposes set fees for probate work established by statute, based on the gross value of the estate. The attorney’s fee schedule is as follows:
- 4% of the first $100,000 of the probate estate’s gross value
- 3% of the next $100,000
- 2% of the next $800,000
- 1% of the next $9 million
- 5% of the next $15 million
This schedule is for “ordinary” probate services. However, subject to court approval, an attorney can be paid additional fees for “extraordinary” services. In addition to the fees paid to the attorneys, there may also be other fees required during the probate process. Those additional fees may include court fees, fees for the services of a personal representative, accounting fees, appraisal fees and business valuation fees. Court fees and personal representative fees are also established by state statute.
Depending on the type of property in the estate, there could also be various fees such as postage for mailing notices and other documents, the cost of insuring and storing personal property, shipping or moving personal property. These fees are usually deducted from the probate estate.
How to choose an elder law attorney
It may be a good idea to ask how long the attorneys have been practicing in the area of elder law, a question that should be asked about any particular specialty of interest to you. You can also ask about the percentage of the attorney’s practice that is actually devoted to elder law since many attorneys practice in several areas of law.
Being prepared for meeting with an elder law attorney
Knowing the answers to these questions can be very helpful in deciding whether the Roseville elder law attorneys have the necessary qualifications to effectively advise you regarding your legal concerns. This information will also ensure that you are prepared for a productive initial consultation. Remember to inform the office if your legal concerns require immediate attention during the initial telephone conversation.
Download our FREE estate planning checklist today! If you have questions regarding probate, elder law, or any other estate planning matters, please contact us at the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (916) 437-3500. We are here to help!
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