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What do we need to say to our Real Estate Attorney who will not disclose to us the amount we owe thus far nor meet with us?

Hickory, NC |
Filed under: Real estate

We have an attorney who is using his "younger attorneys" for a cheaper rate for us to pay since we're retired and on a fixed income for a property line dispute and our claim for adverse possession for 33 years.The judge signed off for our neighbor to remove ALL fencing at least minimum of 25ft he erected on our 'adverse property" that he too has treated as ours since he arrived here until Dec of last year.His fencing also was blocking our ability to get into our driveway safely.There is a security set for $100.00.Neighbor only took down the fencing and left it laying there(driveway only.The other 10 posts in our backyard remains).Our attorney did NOT address it when we went to court as he promised.There's a restraining order against neighbor that he's also violated.They're ignoring us!

They will not set up an appointment to meet us to tell us the costs or our next court visit. More less what they've done regarding the neighbor calling us since court(violating the restraining order)as well as his contempt prior to our last court date and was supposed to already be filed. According to attorney, Only if he would be in contempt would he be made to pay the $100 fine and remove the fencing. None of which has been done! We have no idea what's going on nor have any idea how long this is projected to take. Help!

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

Place your concerns in writing and send to the attorney. Ask for a face to face meeting. If he continues to be non-responsive, then start interviewing other attorneys.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

Asker

Posted

WE have no idea what "services" they feel are valid they've already done(besides filing the papers, showing up to court and answering us over the phone when told our next court date)Who will pay them? Us or the trespassing neighbor? How can we pay them when they will not disclose to us what they've charged thus far or provide us with the information we need in writing?

Asker

Posted

WE imagine there's a "max" litigating attorney can charge according to the courts. Where would we find that information online for our state/county? We can't afford to be slapped with a $10,000 bill without advanced notice! All we have been told is $150 an hr and that they charge according to what they do. Answer our phone questions, calling us, showing up for court(but nobody says how much they costs individually).WE just need to know how much we owe thus far and they will NOT tell us!

Asker

Posted

We've asked for an up-to-date itemization as well as an appointment that has not happened.What they do is call us at the last minute(at the close of business the day before court)and say meet us a few minutes before court on tomorrow.We're told they're the best but now have our doubts if they're worth staying with!

Michael T Millar

Michael T Millar

Posted

There is generally no court set rate that an attorney can charge. Typically, you sign a retainer agreement that sets forth the rate that they attorney will charge you. Do they know that you are unhappy with the situation? Again, make a written demand for your bill. Tell them that you are dissatisfied with their lack of communication. If you are not going to communicate your concerns to them - then it is time to move on.

Timothy Shawn Howard

Timothy Shawn Howard

Posted

There's no "maximum" that they can charge. That being said, you should be receiving regular bills and have a right to ask for one. Do as the other lawyers have said and send a written request. T. Shawn Howard www.maginnislaw.com

Posted

I agree with Mr. Millar. In your letter, you may want to state that if you do not hear from the attorney within a certain time period, say 10 days, that you will file a grievance with the North Carolina Bar. Good luck to you.

Fred Amos provides legal representation in Wake County, North Carolina. Any answer provided through this discussion board is a general response to the question and NOT intended as legal advice. Responding to this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Always seek the advice of a lawyer directly to address your specific circumstances. Free consultation and flexible payment plans for DWI's. Call 919-803-7208.

Posted

I agree with the other attorneys, you may need to end up firing this attorney. Non-responsiveness is often a sign of trouble! Don't wait, send a letter return receipt requested and demand they contact you and provide you with a monthly billing ASAP!

Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.

Posted

Start interviewing new attys. Keep in mind that if you are trying to keep legal costs down, you may not want the attysd to go to court over things that arent critical. Perhaps you should ask if you can take pictures of the posts they left, and then have them removed. Send a letter with a list of the items/things your neighbor has done, and ask atty to advise you what the options are, and the expected cost of each.

Asker

Posted

Now need to know who to see to review the bill. Met with attorney and he was very "upset" stating if we're not pleased with his service he will gladly recommend someone else. As for the photos of the fencing, They have EVERYTHING they need.Matter of fact he stated we've done so much work already he hasn't had to do anything.We get the bill and see increment minute billing. We also see several charges that were never discussed or disclosed to us.Such as the paperwork we have states the defendant will be taxed the court costs.We get the bill and notice that WE were billed for the court cost. WE also see the we were billed the bond amount set for the defendant and learned as well they did NOT tell the judge or clerk of court that the defendant was in contempt nor care that they neighbor still has not complied to the Judge court order giving him only 24 hours. Not only that they now have 'changed their tune" suggesting we give the neighbor part of the adverse land. We're here in NC and we've had this adversely for 24 years PRIOR to the neighbor even moving here so it was already ours when he got here.Even so, He has allowed us to behave accordingly for the entire 9 yrs he's been here making our claim equivalent to 33years and our attorney now is telling us to negotiate and give this neighbor something that he has not taken care of whatsoever since he got here or used despite it being his property on his deed. He didn't give us permission to use it because we didn't ask.The person who sold it to him even told him that the area we're claiming is OURS! Yes he's paid taxes on it but NEVER complained and paying taxes doesn't matter here in our state. As for the contempt of court charge we were told our last court date the young attorney(who was the only 1present)that he was going to file it immediately. He tells us today that wasn't done because that's another piece of paperwork and since we asked for billing explanation he didn't do it. So he lied and now they're saying they're still not doing it until THIS case is resolved.So meanwhile the neighbor can continue to do whatever.Are the post still up? Of course they are. Then we learned when we asked how is representing us when the young lawyer is the one presenting the case in court and now we're being told its the other more expensive attorney but he uses them when he needs to so they too can eat and feed their family. We're almost at 4,000 and the only thing that has happened is the neighbor took his fence down and left it there. Why are we billed his bond? Why were we billed for court when the documents we have and our communication with them was always we were billing the defendant. They were very rude and although we're told they are the "best" we now question if they will win this for us.WE never said we didn't like their services we just wanted to know where we stood financially when they've only came to court twice, drafted the documents and prepared exhibits for the court that was NOT used because the judge told the defendant he needed an attorney although the defendant came to court without one and had this information at least a week prior. Also we're now being told this may go before a jury they don't know. Now they're talking prescriptive easement and saying ok your neighbor already gave you that. No the LAW already gave us that. You can't block someone from accessing their driveway that was there 25 years before you came! Nothing they say was going to happen each of the 2 times we've gone has happened so we feel like they're trying to drag it out. Can we not remove the post ourselves since he won't comply? Can we not put up our own fencing that includes the adverse portion that he's been living by the last 9years as well that we've claimed as ours? He has NO land to sell us or to OK in giving to us because he's NEVER used it. We've been the sole users and owners for 33years!

Asker

Posted

It's NEVER been treated as his land but ours hence us claiming adverse possession. What the neighbor now wants to do is gain some of our land because he paid for 2 acres from the seller that he's saying is his to take back. He knew all of this when he bought it and should not be awarded something that he has NOT taken care of nor used as his own for almost 10years. We felt like our attorney was his and we dont know why they were so rude and mad with us asking for a bill and understanding of their charges. We were never told that each time we called that was a charge. We were never told each time they told us to email something to them that too was a charge. We've done all the work and initially the attorney even said you can't pay me you need to pay yourself because you've done all the work. So if we go find another attorney how should we proceed and avoid this from happening again. And he said today we haven't even started yet and i've billed you nothing yet! Then said this may even take a year who knows.When we first met him we got an entirely different story. There has been no papers signed either hence us asking him what exactly is our relationship. We asked who is our attorney because it can't be him because he has everyone else doing his work and he said the same! HEEELLLPPP!

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Posted

Contact other attys to discuss the case. Most attys charge hourly for this kind of case. That means they charge for their time, whether its phone, mail, email, court, etc. Client normally pays the costs too. While they can try to get the other side to pay, that depends upon the laws in your state and the outcome of the case.

Posted

It seems to me that the neightbor has not yet fully complied with the Order, but that depends on exactly what was ordered. I think you should take photographs showing the poles in the yard--include enough background context to show clearly that the poles are in your yard or on the adversely possessed land--and then mail or email those photos to your lawyer and ask what he recommends as the next course of action. But you have to give your neighbor a reasonable amount of time to comply with the order. And I suspect that part of the reason you are not hearing back from your lawyer is that he knows you are on a fixed income and he is trying to save you some money, but not having an unneccessary meeting with you. I would discourage you from firing this lawyer and looking for a new one at this time. You need to investigate the reasons for the communication problem first.

This answer is intended as general information and not as specific legal advice. If you want to have a free consultation with me, please contact me through AVVO.

Bobby L. Bollinger Jr.

Bobby L. Bollinger Jr.

Posted

That should say, "by" not having an unneccessary meeting with you.....

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