Legal Costs

We met with an Elder Law attorney yesterday. We really like her & felt comfortable with the visit & her suggestions on what we need to have in place. We are one of many who have not put together our legal papers previously. My question to others: We are having a will, living will, power of attorney for finacial, Health Care Representative, HIPPA (stating who medical information can be released to. Her fee is a flat charge of $750. She doesn't charge by the hour which is what I like so there is no hidden additional charges, nothing for calling & asking a question etc. It seems reasonable but I have never needed an attorney's assistance so just want to put this out there to see what others have seen charged for this service. We live in the Indianapolis, IN area. THANKS

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Yes, lawyers do charge for this sort of thing. I do not know what the original fees were when my Father set this up, since he handled it himself. I do know we were charged when some changes were made to the way he had set it up. But if we call with questions, there is no charge.

It seems common for lawyers to put together a flat fee sort of package deal.
From their point of view, most of their clients need enough of the same sort of paperwork that they know how long it takes, what is involved.

Since you feel you can trust her, that she understands what you need, and can do it, go for it.

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Thanks for the sharing -

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Wow $750. I live in New York and have spent $5,000 for that.So I would think you did OK. So far I have spent about $12,000 with the lawyer but they have saved me much more then that. This it not something you can do on your own. They do this stceuff everyday and know more then we do. I would say 2 years ago I wouldn't spend that much but now I know I could not have done it without them. They have saved me 4 times the amount that I paid them. You made a good decision.

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Thanks bob11733. Appreciate your comment - sometimes you just need reassurance & since we aren't committed to the attorney yet I just send out feelers. since our funds are very limited I need to make extra wise decisions.

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Seems reasonable. We paid about $800 in NE Pennsylvania.

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That is a good price. I paid around that here in Texas

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I work for a law office in the Northeast, and can tell you that is a very reasonable price for an estate plan. Depending upon the complexity, this kind of legal work can become very expensive, very quickly. As someone posted earlier, it is so important, and can't really be done without the assistance of a competent attorney. Good job for getting the process going! So many people leave it until it's too late, and then you have to pay a lawyer to get things straightened out - which will be VERY expensive. Again, good job!

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I agree this is very reasonable. I believe my husband & I spent over $500 to have all of our wills and legal papers put into order about 15 years ago.

I also had made changes to my Mom's will and legal papers once my Dad passed away and it was also about $500 and that was little over 8 years ago. I live in the Midwest as well.

So great to hearing people planning ahead, and Welcome to this site.

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My sisters and I are going to see an elder law attorney Wednesday, Jan. 30. His initial visit fee is $250. Mom and Dad did their wills several years ago. All powers of attorney, advanced medical directives, and executors were done at that time. My dad passed away this past August and we are nearing completion of probate. There are some minor questions about some of the bank accounts. About two years ago, Dad took my mom's name off the accounts and put my two sisters and I on them. They are "right of survivorship" which means when one member on the account passes, monies go to the remaining members on the account. Texas being a community property state, the probate attorney is trying to determine whether Mom gets half even though her name is not on the accounts. All my siblings and I agree all of the money is Mom's and we have been using it to continue paying monthly bills, insurance, etc. Plus, her SS check has been direct deposited into that account. We have set up a checking account for her and her SS check should begin being deposited into that account next month.

We're not really sure why Dad took Mom's name off the accounts, other than she had recently been diagnosed with AD and with her blindness, had not dealt with any of the money matters since the mid 90s.

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I just checked and my Mom's living willing, durable power of attorney, including healthcare DOA, and her updated will cost $729 in 2011. I am in New Hampshire, and it included the hour long visit so the attorney could be sure she was of sound mind. It was my attorney, but we did it after she was diagnosed with dementia and had spent a couple months in the hospital and rehab.......but she was very much understanding what was going on and willing to do the paper work so I could care for her instead of the state taking over. Sounds like you found an attorney that is reasonable.

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If you are a military retiree or spouse, you can probably get the will's, power of attorney, etc done at a military legal office for no cost. My wife and I did years ago and I recently changed my will at no charge. So if you eligible for those benefits, you may want to check it out.

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Jerry S,

Do you have to be a a retired military lifer that put in 30 yrs to get free legal advise? My husband was in the A.F. for 3 1/2 yrs and I am wondering if he would qualify?

Thanks,
MAW12

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Our package in Los Angeles was about $1500 as I recall. The price can be affected by the complexity of things.

MAW, if your papers were done 15 years ago they should be reviewed again. During my lawyer time I was asking her about horror stories and disasters related to estates & probates. She said she has one lady who comes in every couple of months to change the beneficiaries on all her trusts, wills, etc. depending on which child/children she is speaking to at the moment. Lawyer says it is fine with her as all these visits keep paying her bills ;-)

But then she told me her partner was TRYING to probate a 25-30 year old will. The (now dead) lady had it all done by a lawyer and it was 100% legal AT THE TIME but when she finally died the judge said that the heir (nothing complex, her only son) had to bring the original witnesses to the will into court(!) Turns out the witnesses were originally just two strangers who happened to be in the law office that day and nobody knew who or where they were. The current lawyer tracked down the original lawyer (now long retired) and he testified that it was legally witnessed at that time but the judge threw it all out and deemed the estate to be intestate(!) Sheesh!!! Who woudda thought???

A coworker recently had a brother who committed suicide in Virginia. (I think it was Virginia anyway) He was very detailed with all his planning for the act including getting a trust made. HOWEVER he did it online without a lawyer and did not know that in 'Virginia' all trusts must be 'registered with the county' to be effective. Since he just filled out the online papers and never recorded it, it turns out it was effectively worthless :-( So now the now family has to probate everything from the other end of the country.

So to everyone who thinks they can do this on their own or by just filling out some online forms they may be in for some rude surprises.
Sometimes you need a lawyer to do things right. . . . .

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My mother s will stated she did not want tobe kept alive by artficial means but i donot thi k that she meant to starve herself.
It was i nterpreted to mean if shecould not feed herself_ nobody needed to spend time feeding her. Her death certificate read death from malnutrition.

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I would have interpreted that to mean she did not want a feeding tube.

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m-mman,

Thanks for all of that information.. I guess we need to get this looked at again. Things just never stops.

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You have to be either Retired military or on active duty to use the military's legal services.

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I am in the process of changing wills (husband has early dementia). Elder attorney charged a flat fee of $800. It has yet to be finalized but believe this is a helpful move for us. Good luck.
Earlier I had spoken with another attorney for about an hour, but was not exactly comfortable with her responses. I called a few days later and let her know we would not work on this at this time. Within a month I received a bill for $675 dollars. It itemized items such as phone calls, checking law regulations, etc. I paid the bill and knew I had made the correct decisions NOT to use her.

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Thanks for the info.

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