The Estate lawyer cost us big

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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bru
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by bru » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:17 pm

dekecarver wrote:Ok here goes with all due respect to you and your situation:
Either poop or get off the pot. With the advice that has been given to you from this board based on the info you have provided it sounds to me like you've been given multiple options of which really don't take that much time. You have probably spent more time than it would take to either: call the firm; talk to your cousin; or seek advice from a secondary firm, to rethink the situation, repost information, create more angst for yourself, etc..

I can honestly say I know how this type of situation along with a a very sick spouse can effect your thinking etc..Bottom line is step back, take a breath and seek resolution or forget about it and move on. There is a point where your own indecisiveness can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health.

P.S. After it's all and done over with take your cousin out back behind the woodshed.
1. I have asked for a complete breakdown of fees. Just doing that has cost the estate probably 1000 dollars.
2. When I asked for the breakdown I told the Executor that I was not happy with the fees being charged and that my father never would have expected them to be this much. He didn't even respond to it in his reply.
3. The law firm literally has hundreds of partners. To decipher who to call is taking some time. Do you really think I can call and be transferred to the head of this law firm? I don't think people understand the size of this firm. I can't even ever get the Executor on the phone. I guarantee I won't get to speak to anyone of authority. And if I do do people really think they will agree that the Executor has charged too much and gladly give me a discount? I hghly doubt anything of the sort will happen. Lawyers protect each other, especially those in the same firm.
4. I haven't signed anything. By doing this I have delayed the settlement and guaranteed at least $10K more in expenses.
5. I have looked in to talking to a lawyer. There are two or three that I will call once I get the full breakdown of costs.

I have taken the advice given and tried to process it. I am dealing with this the best I can. It seems pretty easy for you to give the advice "poop or get off the pot". Maybe now you'll agree I haven't been sitting on my a$$. I apologize if this comes off as rude but I don't think people understand this is essentially a lost cause. ITs easy to say do this to get the fees reduce or file that complaint but does anyone really think it will work? Lawyers cover themselves well. These people did it exactly correct. They have me by the you know what and they know it.

Calm Man
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by Calm Man » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:37 pm

dekecarver wrote:Ok here goes with all due respect to you and your situation:
Either poop or get off the pot. With the advice that has been given to you from this board based on the info you have provided it sounds to me like you've been given multiple options of which really don't take that much time. You have probably spent more time than it would take to either: call the firm; talk to your cousin; or seek advice from a secondary firm, to rethink the situation, repost information, create more angst for yourself, etc..

I can honestly say I know how this type of situation along with a a very sick spouse can effect your thinking etc..Bottom line is step back, take a breath and seek resolution or forget about it and move on. There is a point where your own indecisiveness can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health.

P.S. After it's all and done over with take your cousin out back behind the woodshed.
This is excellent advice. I would simply never talk to this cousin again and this comes from a man who has never stopped talking to anybody intentionally for my entire life.

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SnapShots
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by SnapShots » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:07 pm

Bru,

I have been through an estate fight. In less than a year it cost $25K to receive $250K from the estate. (There were a lot more attorney and executor fees the other side paid.) I had to tell our attorney to STOP! Do no more, or he would have kept on.

It was an extremely!!! emotional time. I had to not only to deal with my own grief, but the grief of my mother who lost a daughter, along with financial entanglements we did not anticipate.

You have lost a father and now feel taken advantage of. But, you can only do what you can do and .... It is what it is. You can and should talk with the law firm but may not be satisfied with the result.

I do not think you should spend any money or time in hiring another attorney. $90K is a lot of money but it will not change your life. It won't make you happier but you can let it make you a miserable and angry man.

Let some time pass before making any decision about filing a complaint. In a year, things will look different. You will move on and eventually will need to chalk this experience up as a life lesson.

Best to you and I'm sorry for your loss and pain in dealing with a messy estate settlement.
Mikki
the best decision many times is the hardest to do

lethean46
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by lethean46 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:15 pm

Bru

I think I know the name of this international law firm. Top reputation and top dollar. It used to be a real status symbol to use this firm. Clients proud to pay for the best work and the name. Money no object. Things changed pretty dramatically during and after the great recession. Clients started looking for less expensive lawyers. The firm had to adjust to survive and started actually competing for clients based on price. I want to say that 30% (?) of the firms lawyers were asked to take a "voluntary leave of absence" for one year, at one point in time. Law firms were hit HARD. This firm was hit hard, too. Are they still hurt/scrambling? I don't know. But I can't imagine this firm doing work for a family member at a discount. It was an inappropriate firm and an unfortunate choice for your dads estate, IMO. It wouldn't have surprised me if the hourly rates were $1000 per hour and up.

Notwithstanding, the fees still seem way out of line - like others have said. Did you read the Illinois estate case that was linked above? You should read it!!! It's relevant.

I have more to say but it takes me too long to write and I time out before I am finished. So .......

Good luck to you.

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Eric
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by Eric » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:17 pm

Nowizard wrote:Eric: I may have missed whether this was a Revocable Trust, but the dwelling and other items were not in the Trust. That required it to be probated which would otherwise not have been a requirement.
Something is always "not in the Trust." OK, maybe everything is there for a brief period of time after the trust is first established and funded, but often not even then. Maybe you forgot some old paper savings bonds in a file drawer. Or failed to name a beneficiary for the $10,000 life insurance policy you were given for free when you opened a bank account. Or later you decided to open a bank account online, but the bank's web site didn't provide a way to do that in the name of a trust and you never got around to talking to a manager to get the registration fixed. Or you bought a new house, and forgot to tell the title company about the revocable trust until a few days before closing, and they told you to just take title to the house in your name and deed it into the trust later, and you don't get around to doing that. (That may well have happened here.) Or, or, or. I know you'll be skeptical of this, but I can just tell you that it's unusual to find a perfectly, fully funded revocable trust after someone has died.

And in my state, at least, that makes the revocable trust essentially worthless as a tool for saving probate costs (though it does have other legitimate uses). The cost of probating a will in Texas is about the same for a small estate as a large one. It takes the same amount of time for me to drive to the courthouse either way. (To be clear, the total cost of settling one's affairs often increases with asset values, because larger estates tend to have more complicated taxes, etc. But those additional costs aren't triggered by the probate proceeding.)

None of this keeps unscrupulous salesmen from hyping the costs of probate (and exploiting people's hatred of lawyers) to sell living trusts. I routinely see people pay more for a living trust than their family would have paid for a probate -- and then the family often ends up paying for the probate anyway, for the reasons I mention above. And threads like this, which have almost nothing to do with "probate" itself, inadvertently help those unscrupulous salesmen make their living. It's a source of enormous frustration to ethical lawyers.

Sorry for getting off the track of the OP's issues, but I did want to address this point.

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bru
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by bru » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:23 am

For those suggesting filing a dispute did anyone read the link to the Chicago Bar Associaton's Attorney Fee Dispute?

http://www.chicagobar.org/AM/Template.c ... entID=2424

I'll save you the trouble:

"If the Committee reviews the file and finds that your claims suggest illegal or unethical behavior involving your attorney's fees, the Committee will hold a hearing."

As previously stated numerous times I can guarantee there has been nothing illegal or unethical done. Immoral, yes. Unnecessary, yes. And numerous other things that violate the code of decent human behavior but illegal or unethical? I highly doubt it from such a prestigious firm.

And even by some miracle if this Committee determines there is cause to proceed to a hearing I would think the chances are very low of me being successfull. The law firm will have all the ammunition and documentation to show everything they did was justified.

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desertbandit442
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by desertbandit442 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:30 am

bru wrote:For those suggesting filing a dispute did anyone read the link to the Chicago Bar Associaton's Attorney Fee Dispute?

http://www.chicagobar.org/AM/Template.c ... entID=2424

I'll save you the trouble:

"If the Committee reviews the file and finds that your claims suggest illegal or unethical behavior involving your attorney's fees, the Committee will hold a hearing."

As previously stated numerous times I can guarantee there has been nothing illegal or unethical done. Immoral, yes. Unnecessary, yes. And numerous other things that violate the code of decent human behavior but illegal or unethical? I highly doubt it from such a prestigious firm.

And even by some miracle if this Committee determines there is cause to proceed to a hearing I would think the chances are very low of me being successfull. The law firm will have all the ammunition and documentation to show everything they did was justified.
I guess if you already know this you should sign the probate documents, instead of racking up more legal fees.

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Blue
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by Blue » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:36 pm

Our local law school had to change the name of its atrium after a prominent and powerful local attorney was convicted of misappropriating client funds over many years. It sounds like his behavior was more egregious than what you believe to be the case in your situation, and took some number of years for the investigations to come to conclusion.

Good luck with however your choose to proceed.


http://www.theindianalawyer.com/conour- ... icle/29635
William Conour, until recently, was one of Indiana’s most respected and powerful personal injury attorneys, his name prominent enough to grace a law school atrium. Now he faces a federal charge that could send him to prison for much of the rest of his life.

Conour, 65, stole $4.5 million from more than 25 clients whose settlement money was entrusted to him, according to information filed Aug. 14 in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana. The wire fraud charge against Conour carries a possible prison term of 20 years and fines.

Retread
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by Retread » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:46 pm

Do you think the members of the Committee on Professional Fees are fools who are going to be hoodwinked by a large law firm? For some reason, it seems throughout this thread that, while you are unhappy, you have some reluctance to pursue this. If that is the case, sign the accounting and go on your way. My opinion is it would be an opportunity squandered.
Bruce
absit iniuria verbis

john94549
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Re: The Estate lawyer cost us big

Post by john94549 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:01 pm

While of little solace to the OP, I can relate a very happy, and satisfactory, tale of the honest estate attorney.

My Mom died back in December, 2013. I always assumed I'd need an estate attorney, so I asked my Mom's CPA for a recommendation. Virtually everything was in the trust my Dad set up. So, the lawyer calls me, says he's looked over everything. Says he could file the will, but as I am the only child and sole beneficiary, it would be a waste of his time and my money. He did obtain the Trust Tax ID for my use. All the trust assets I could do with as I pleased. Just follow the directions on the side of the box, as it were.

And that was that.

Total damage: a couple of hours.

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