Generally, attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation with a potential client. This is also true for Los Alamitos elder law lawyers. The subsequent fees for legal work are based on the type of services provided. There are certain types of fees that are set by various state statutes, such as probate work.
Legal issues Los Alamitos elder law lawyers handle
As with any other specialty, there some legal matters that most elder law attorneys will handle, including Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage for long-term care, estate planning and administration of estates, conservatorships, establishing and administering various types trusts, and probate matters. Usually, elder law or estate planning attorneys charge a flat rate for the particular services they provide. Since each client has different needs a list of services and applicable rates is difficult to provide. At the Schomer Law Group, the costs and fees for any plan we propose will be explained to you in advance.
Common elder law services we provide
Elder law involves estate planning, which is basically creating a plan in advance for how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. Comprehensive estate planning for elders may include instructions for your care if you become disabled, identifying a guardian and manager for the inheritance of minor children, provisions for family members with special needs, provisions for loved ones who may be unable to manage their own affairs, life insurance, disability income insurance, and long-term care insurance, and plans for transferring your business at your retirement, disability or death.
Be sure to review and update your plan
Once your plan has been established, it needs to be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations change throughout your lifetime. Even if you believe you may not be able to afford a complex estate plan, you can always start with something simpler. As your needs change and your financial situation improves, you can expand your plan as necessary.
Attorney fees for probate work
In California, the fees attorneys can charge for probate work is set 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 gross value of the probate estate
- 3% of the next $100,000
- 2% of the next $800,000
- 1% of the next $9 million
- 5% of the next $15 million
In addition to attorney’s fees, there are other fees that may be required during the probate process, such as court fees, personal representative fees, accounting fees, appraisal and/or business valuation fees. Court fees and personal representative fees are also set by state law.
Depending on the nature of the estate, there may also be miscellaneous fees like postage for mail notices and other documents; the cost of insuring and storing personal property; shipping personal property, and the cost of moving personal property. These fees are normally deducted from the probated estate.
What do I need to know before my first appointment?
While there are common legal issues that Los Alamitos elder law lawyers are familiar with, not all elder law attorneys handle all of those areas. So, one of the first questions to ask should be what types of elder law matters the attorney handles.
An elder law attorney should also generally know about other areas of this specialty in order to recognize whether your particular circumstances will have any legal effect. For example, if you are considering rewriting your will and your spouse is suffering from an illness, your attorney should be familiar enough with Medi-Cal to know if there are any legal issues with regard to your spouse’s inheritance under that will.
How to choose your attorney
It may be helpful to ask how long the attorney has been practicing in the field of Elder law and what percentage of his or her practice is devoted to that specialty? It is also good to know whether there will be a fee for the first consultation, and considering on your reason for consulting with the attorney, what information or documentation should you bring with you to the initial consultation. This can save time and prevent the need to reschedule another appointment just to provide the necessary documents.
The answers to these questions will be helpful in determining whether the attorney has the qualifications necessary to assist you with your legal concerns. This information will also prepare you for a productive and informative first consultation. Remember, if you have a specific legal issue that requires immediate attention, be sure to inform the office of this during the initial telephone conversation.
If you have questions regarding estate planning, trust contests, or any other trust administration issues, please contact the Schomer Law Group either online or by calling us in Los Angeles at (310) 337-7696, and in Orange County at (562) 346-3209.
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