How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My mother passed away over a year ago. She had a will appointing

Customer Question

My mother passed away over a year ago. She had a will appointing my sister and I co-executors & we get along and agree on everything. Mother did not have a great deal of money & my sister and I now co-own her two flat where my nieces live. This should have been a fairly simple case, it took our lawyer forever to get it done and now we owe him $4867.00 after giving him a retainer of $3500.00 last year. This seems very high to me and the biggest cost was 15.5 hours preparing petition for letters of administration, affidavit of heirship, affidavit copy of will, oath-no surety, order of heirship and order of appointment & review of all docs. Does that seem appropriate or out of line?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) the site allows experts not participate in phone calls and I may or may not be able to participate in this feature.
I am sorry to hear about this situation. Can you please tell me what state this is in?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It just seems to both my sister and myself that he didn't put as many hours in as he's claiming. I'm just trying to gauge if his hours are out of line or not
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
One more question, please. Did you have a SIGNED document that states how much they would bill an hour?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, allegedly he gave us a "friend" rate because my sister used to work with his wife.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Than you.
Honestly, believe it or not, this does not seem "that" stretched. Legal work takes a lot more than people see, and attorneys can spend hours drafting documents, looking up law, and cross checking facts.
I am not defending them. I am simply stating this.
So what can one do once one feels that the bill is too much? First, call the county bar's FEE DISPUTE department. Most county bar associations have one, such as here for the City of Chicago.
Then, the attorney can choose to participate and have a hearing where the price might be reduced.
Alternatively, one can file a complaint with the state bar, which is generally done only in cases where the attorney/client relationship is already broken and there is no other feasible way to bring this to the bar's attention.
Of course, the best way is to negotiate a decrease, which some attorneys are willing to do.
Best of luck.
Please note: If I tell you simply what you wish to hear, this would be unfair to you. I want to be honest with you and sometimes this means providing information that is not optimal. Negative ratings are reserved for experts who are rude or for erroneous information. Please rate me on the quality of my information; do not punish me for my honesty.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.