My husband passed away and we have everything in our Trust. I am the surviving spouse. What is the going rate for an attorney to settle the estate when I pass away?
Estate Planning Attorney
You should get attorney to quote a fee for your files.
Fee's can vary and it would be best to have it nailed down now.
The attorney can charge an attorney fee and a trustee fee.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
Most attorneys charge an hourly rate for assisting with administration of a trust, at least in Michigan. This is generally fairly nominal. One of the reasons people set up trusts in the first place is that relatively little attorney time is required. I would not worry about this, too much. By establishing trusts and getting your estate planning in order, you have ensured your beneficiaries will have as easy and least expensive transition as possible.
You WILL want to check with YOUR attorney, however, and make sure that things are up to date, in light of your husband's death.
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Both attorneys offer sound advice. The value of setting up AND funding the trust is that the probate process is made easier and the attorney does not have as much to do as far as administering the trust. If you are concerned about fees make sure the attorney provides you with an engagement letter setting out how fees will be determined.
Hope this helps.
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LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is email@example.com , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.
Estate Planning Attorney
Trust settlement fees can vary dramatically, but so can the quality of the work. Sole practitioners often do everything themselves, and the administration can take much longer than necessary ... and you can find it difficult to reach the attorney when you have questions. Some firms have full time administration paralegals or attorneys who do nothing but estate administrations, at which they are more efficient and more responsive. Some firms have the skill to do the Ohio Estate Tax Return, and some farm it out to CPAs, who in our experience are often not well-schooled in how to do them properly. Most firms charge hourly, but some, like ours, try to do administration work for a fixed fee whenever possible.
As a guideline, rarely should the total attorney fee be more than 2% of assets. Ours are more often in the 1.5% to 1.75% range, whether we charge hourly or with a fixed fee. The factors that an cause additional costs are (a) disorganization, (b) family disputes or errors in the documentation or asset titling.
We know some capable colleagues in the Cleveland area and would be pleased to make a referral if you need assistance.
If you have a typical Living Trust, there should be very little for an attorney to do in addition to the Ohio Estate Tax Return (if your Husband's assets exceed 338,333$ in value) or the report of a non-taxable estate.
The Trust is designed for you to do the necessary paper work yourself. The attorney should make you aware of the issues that you need to consider going forward. That service should be susceptible to a fee quote so that you know up front what your expense will be.
I practice in the Cleveland area.