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I lost my mother a while back and had a verbal agreement…

I lost my mother...

I lost my mother a while back and had a verbal agreement with a probate lawyer who told me he would give me a good deal on an hourly basis. it was very simple probate with me being the only daughter and after i i sold her condo there isnt enough left for me to pay the cray 36,000 he is asking for. we had nothing in writing and no explanation or agreement for fees. i am wondering what to do., i am going to send payment for his documented hours and the fees he already paid out of pocket.

Lawyer's Assistant: Estate laws vary by state. What state are you in?

CA. his assistant also made several mistakes in filing that postponed the proceedings for months

Lawyer's Assistant: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?

The papers and emails he sent me indicating the improper spelling of a name . of can i report this to somebody? losing my mom has been traumatic enough but now getting taken advantage of is terrible.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

We had nothing in writing thanks

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/27/2018
LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12,570
Experience: Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
Verified

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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I'm very sorry to hear this; please see rule 4-200 which states fees must be "reasonable".

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Conduct-Discipline/Rules/Rules-of-Professional-Conduct/Current-Rules

Fortunately the probate code actually sets forth the rate for legal fees; please see:

10810.

(a) Subject to the provisions of this part, for ordinary services the attorney for the personal representative shall receive compensation based on the value of the estate accounted for by the personal representative, as follows: (1) Four percent on the first one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). (2) Three percent on the next one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000). (3) Two percent on the next eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,000). (4) One percent on the next nine million dollars ($9,000,000). (5) One-half of 1 percent on the next fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000). (6) For all amounts above twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000), a reasonable amount to be determined by the court. (b) For the purposes of this section, the value of the estate accounted for by the personal representative is the total amount of the appraisal of property in the inventory, plus gains over the appraisal value on sales, plus receipts, less losses from the appraisal value on sales, without reference to encumbrances or other obligations on estate property. (Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 699, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2002.)

A complaint can be filed here:

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Complaints-Claims

The bar can discipline an attorney that is in violation of the professional rules of conduct.

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
i am aware of the percemtage system, but the proceeds of the sale of her condo went right back to thew bank who was going to foreclose .
Customer reply replied 28 days ago
that was why i selected this guy because he was going to just . charge me hourly and keep it under a certain amount.
\

Based on the statute the amount charged is supposed to be no more than the statutory allottment unless there is grounds for an increased fee

Even without the statute the professional rules of conduct requires a fee to be reasonable and if it's not the client can file a complaint with the state bar.

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
I understand but what I’m
Saying is his fee is based on valuation of the property ( there was no money in estate ) but I had to pay back the bank so how can I
Be expected to pay him
36k?

If it cost $36K to deal with a probate case that was insolvent generally that would be deemed unreasonable under normal circumstances.

Furthermore if the attorney failed to provide a clear fee agreement the burden is on the attorney to show that the client was aware of the billing system and the hourly fee/statutory fee being charged.

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
ok thank you very much!
You are most welcome. Sorry you are having to deal with this at this time. Take care
LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12,570
Experience: Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12,570
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Experience: Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor

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