Reasonable Attorney Fees?

Updated on March 22, 2010
L.F. asks from Newport Beach, CA
27 answers

Hi moms! My husband and I I just met with an attorney to discuss setting up the following:

power of attorney - health care and financial
family trust - revocable trusts for me and my husband
will

The attorney fee is $3800. Does this sound reasonable to you? I do realize I can do a lot of this myself (for next to nothing) if I use the right software, but I'd rather have it handled by an attorney. I just want to make sure these fees seem reasonable. Thank so much!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all of your input! It sounds like I still need to shop around. I have other friends with more complicated situations who have paid far less than the quote I got. The best thing about the attorney who gave me the quote is that he was able to meet with us on a Saturday. Now my husband will have to take time off work to meet with another attorney. But it will be worth our while. I'm looking forward to having all of my affairs in order so I can sleep better at night :-)

*** Another update***
I called the attorney to ask him why his fees were so high, and he gave me a pretty vague response about his level of service. I told him I would talk to my husband and consider hiring a different attorney. He later called me back and told me he would be willing to do it for $3,000. Geez. I can't help but think he gave me a high number in the first place since on paper, we have a lot of assets. I think I'll go with an attorney that doesn't think I'm a big cash cow. Thanks again for all of your input. I really appreciate it!

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K.D.

answers from Peoria on

My hubby and I had the same documents done in naperville, for 1200-1500 about 2 years ago. That seems high.

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A.M.

answers from Chicago on

I used a downtown attorney - Alan Sohn who specializes in this area and he was midrange in price and I paid $2000 for will, trust, power of attorney and health care power of attorney and guardian for my daughter.

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L.L.

answers from Chicago on

Seems awfully high for this. We had done one for my mom a few years back and it was under $2000. Shop around or email me personally at [email protected]____.com and I'll find the attorneys number in Orland Park. L.

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H.P.

answers from Milwaukee on

I am an attorney but I do not practice regularly in Chicago. I won't comment on the fee, because legal work does involve a lot of nuances the lay person cannot do adequately but it could be too high anyway-- I just do not know (additionally I don't practice that type of law). However, in Wisconsin, I could get a will done by an attorney with everything you've included for around 1500? Ours would not be complicated though, not sure about yours.

However, I would caution you against using do-it-yourself materials without the advice of an attorney. A will is a serious business. If you and your husband died, or were incapacitated, would you want there to be any question about your intentions?

3 moms found this helpful

H.M.

answers from St. Louis on

I would look for an attorney who charges a flat rate fee. Also, about 99% of attorneys do use a standard form where they just plug your information into the spots and it's the office help that does it not the attorney. This seems a bit expensive, but you also have to take into consideration where you live. Finding a small town attorney other than an attorney in Naperville would probably save you a ton of money and do just as good of a job.

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T.K.

answers from Chicago on

Hi
Due to the economic climate in American today, you along with so many other Americans are searching for reasonable legal representation. People want to take a step in pre-planning for their future, however they do want access to affordable attorneys. My husband has been an Associate for a very reputable legal service for the past 14 years. I don't know if you are familiar with Pre-Paid Legal Services but they provide the services that you are searching for. If you would like more information about this service please send your contact info to [email protected]____.com. Thank you and good luck.

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V.B.

answers from Houston on

That sounds excessive to me, but I haven't actually priced it out. I would think it would be more in the $500 range. These documents aren't complicated and shouldn't take a lot of billable time by the attorney (they should have paralegals to do most of the legwork and they just review it). I would ask them to justify the quote and try to itemize it. If they stick to their guns on it, I would shop around a little. I don't think you HAVE to use any particular attorney for this since it's pretty straightforward. I would try to find someone less expensive, personally.

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

Lucy,
I see you've gotten a lot of responses, and one fo the attorneys recommended in another response took care of all of this for us about 2 1/2 years ago for a fraction of what you were quoted. Suzanne Cahalan is in Wheaton and she charged us a flat fee. She had come highly recommended to us by several of our friends, and has since also taken care of setting up trusts/estates/power of atty and wills for more friends as well. She is very down-to-earth and takes the time to really listen and help you to set up exactly what you want. The best part for us is that she comes to your house (or location of choosing) and will do so in the evenings or when it's convenient for you. I would definitely recommend giving her a call. Her number is ###-###-####.

Good luck!

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L.M.

answers from New York on

Knowing that attorney's average charge is $250 per hour. That amount seems very high. Unless you have some unusal circumstances, I would think you could have it done for less than $2,500.

Shop arround, maybe this is the going rate in your area?

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M.B.

answers from Champaign on

i think that is kinda high in price..im pretty sue mine did not cost anywhere around that much.. not reall sure where you are from but, Manuel Law Firm in mahomet Il is really good. ###-###-#### Even if you live far away you could a least get an idea what others charge. good luck.

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C.K.

answers from Chicago on

I have a great attorney in the Chicago western suburbs who did ours and recently my mothers. The price you received seems high. You should call her. She's a nice woman and very knowledgeable. Suzanne Cahalan, ###-###-####, Wheaton, IL

C.
Geneva, IL

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B.C.

answers from Chicago on

We used an attorney at Horwood, Marcus and Burke in the city and paid around $2300. This included 2 wills, 2 trust, POA, etc.

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B.K.

answers from Chicago on

that seems awfully high. i guess it depends on what he's doing for you. i was just doing the same thing and was given a quote of $850

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V.T.

answers from Dallas on

It seems awfully high since most attorneys use a standard template and just insert your info, so it's not like it starting from scratch. When I was in MD, I worked for a Estate Planning attorney and her going rate was $275 an hour. At her rate, to get to $3800, she would have to spend around 14 hours of work. I don't think we ever spent that much time on a will, POA and trust. POA are fairly standard and in some states you can find the forms free online. For the health care POA check the hospital website. I know here in TX, when I went to the hospital website when I had my daughter, I found the POA form. It is the trust that is costing the most money, but I still think that is a lot of money. I would look into other attorneys. Call your local bar association and they can recommend an attorney for you.

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M.M.

answers from Chicago on

That seems really high to me - get a few more quotes. My attorney charges $250 per hour.

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M.E.

answers from Chicago on

When we set up these exact same things, just prior to our son being born, we paid $2,500. Our lawyer is a great guy in Naperville if you need a referral. He handles everything for us and several family members. He is from an established local family and has been in business for years.

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J.

answers from Chicago on

My husband and I are slogging through this now with a lawyer we really like, and she said it would be around $1500-$2500, depending largely on the time involved, i.e, the better we are at following up to questions and paperwork, the faster (cheaper) it would go. I feel a lot better talking to an attorney about it, as many questions have been raised that I would not think to explore on my own, and we have immediate legal assistance should anything go awry with our assets or issues of guardianship with our daughter. Our lawyer works independently from home, so that may or not play into the costs.
Good luck!
Jen

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S.B.

answers from Chicago on

You could sign up for Prepaid Legal Services and have it done for a fraction of the price and then, if you like, cancel the service because you pay month-to-month. Let me know if you'd like someone to contact.

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S.R.

answers from San Francisco on

I think that is way to much. I would inquire with another attorneys office for a comparison. The family trust replaces a will and usually includes power of attorney if something happens to you he has it, if something happens to him, you have it, if something happens to both of you then you have to decide who will take care of everything. It should be more like around $1000-$2000 depending on the complexity of your assets from what I've seen.

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E.M.

answers from Chicago on

We got something similar done with an attorney in Naperville for $500: David Senneke, 630/357-8887. He was referred by a friend and also worked with us when we bought our new house a couple years ago. Your quote sounds way too high to me.

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E.R.

answers from Chicago on

If you have a bunch of businesses maybe. We did this 16 years ago for 1200.00

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M.J.

answers from Chicago on

It does not sound reasonable at all. you should shop around.

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M.T.

answers from New York on

I would shop around. Just like you'd get a second opinion from another doctor, or contact several contractors before having a big job done on your home, don't hire the first attorney that you speak with.

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L.A.

answers from Reno on

whoa seriously way too much. You can get all that done on Legalzoom for hardly anything. I did mine by myself and it's still valid. Don't pay this much

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S.H.

answers from Chicago on

Personallly, it seems really high; I paid considerably less for some of the same things excluding any kind of trust. I'd feel better if the attorney would be available to you over time for questions. Good luck.

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K.E.

answers from Chicago on

We did Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Will for both me and my spouse about 4 years ago in Plainfield. The cost was around 600 dollars, I believe. The attorney was reputable.

It sounds like you'd be adding a little more than we did (family trust), but I don't know how much more that would have been for us.

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L.K.

answers from Kansas City on

My husband and I each had our wills drawn up, power of attorney for each and a trust and What sticks in my head is about $2500 a few years ago in the Kansas City area.
I personally would not do something like this on my own and you are paying for experience and expertise.
Good Luck,
Lori K

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