Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

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kadye
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Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

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mhalley
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by mhalley »

Google says $2500 is average. But supposedly the other party needs one done by a different lawyer.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Lee_WSP »

Pre nups are typically done on a flat fee basis. Get another quote unless your finances are particularly complex and it's not something that can be done on a flat fee basis.
Last edited by Lee_WSP on Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
123
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by 123 »

Whether it is "fair'" or not may depend on how much you have to lose. My experience is that some professionals vary their fee based on income/assets of the customers. AUM fees are a classic example. CPAs/tax preparers often seem to charge those with more assets higher fees that are not necessarily consistent with any higher workload.
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Lee_WSP
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Lee_WSP »

mhalley wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:09 pm Google says $2500 is average. But supposedly the other party needs one done by a different lawyer.
Reviewed by their own attorney. Not a different draft.
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gr7070
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by gr7070 »

Without a max cost I'm not entering into a relatively simple too determine price for said service.

It would seem you could find a better deal; or at least a less variable deal.
Last edited by gr7070 on Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
bryanm
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by bryanm »

kadye wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:15 pm A lawyer quoted me $2,500 for a retainer fee and $350/hr after that to write a prenup contract.
Might want to double check this. Typically, retainers are held in trust, because they’re still your money. So they’re not a cost. What the attorney might be saying is they are estimating a $2500 cost, and so they want that as a retainer, but actual costs will be $350 per hour spent. If that’s higher than $2500, you pay the difference. If it’s lower, you can request the excess back.

There are some good reasons attorneys don’t like to give fixed estimates for projects like these, even if they will for bigger clients. Small client work often comes with greater uncertainty—you don’t know whether someone is going to need hours of your time to walk through the document or not, for example. That said, it’s reasonable to treat this like other contact work: if the lawyer is going to go significantly over budget, they need to tell you so early (before incurring cost) and provide options.
neverpanic
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by neverpanic »

kadye wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:15 pm A lawyer quoted me $2,500 for a retainer fee and $350/hr after that to write a prenup contract.

The contract should be very straight forward, I think, as all of my asset is in brokerage account. I live in the midwest (think Columbus/Cleveland/Indianapolis etc.)

Is this a "fair" rate? Thanks!
Why not write it yourself? You can always pay an attorney to review it for you. Your partner doesn't have to have an attorney either, but it wouldn't be the worst idea to have them review it as well. You don't have to have a witness or notary, but I would go the notarized route myself.

You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
Sic Vis Pacem
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Sic Vis Pacem »

Lawyer, but not one that does pre-nups. There's not nearly enough information here to provide any estimate of what it should cost. $350 an hour for that metro market is reasonable.

What's $2500 (plus or minus a few $350 billable hours) compared to what you're trying to protect?

In my practice, we see it happen over and over again where clients spend a whole lot of money on the back end because they decided to save a few bucks (or DIY) on the front end.
kiwi123
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by kiwi123 »

Paid around $3500 (at approx. $500/hr). It wasn't terribly complex but had to go through a bunch of different scenarios. Worth getting it done right vs. trying to save money.
johnnyc321
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by johnnyc321 »

The fees have a significant range. How aggressive will opposing counsel be? And don't say there isn't one. Because if there isn't, you might as well have no agreement. You should also hire an estate planning lawyer to draft it. Most divorce lawyers I know do not draft them.
Last edited by johnnyc321 on Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cobra Commander
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Cobra Commander »

neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm
kadye wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:15 pm A lawyer quoted me $2,500 for a retainer fee and $350/hr after that to write a prenup contract.

The contract should be very straight forward, I think, as all of my asset is in brokerage account. I live in the midwest (think Columbus/Cleveland/Indianapolis etc.)

Is this a "fair" rate? Thanks!
Why not write it yourself? You can always pay an attorney to review it for you. Your partner doesn't have to have an attorney either, but it wouldn't be the worst idea to have them review it as well. You don't have to have a witness or notary, but I would go the notarized route myself.

You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
Guarantee you this will cost more than having the lawyer prepare it. The lawyer will use their own form of agreement and then customize it as needed to OP's situation. Presumably the finances are relatively simple so there will not be much customization needed.

If you use your own document, the lawyer will need to review all of the provision, possibly recommend provisions that are missing and potentially modify existing provisions to conform to statutory or case law requirements.
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TNL
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by TNL »

kadye wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:15 pm A lawyer quoted me $2,500 for a retainer fee and $350/hr after that to write a prenup contract.

The contract should be very straight forward, I think, as all of my asset is in brokerage account. I live in the midwest (think Columbus/Cleveland/Indianapolis etc.)

Is this a "fair" rate? Thanks!
I used to practice family law and would draft and review prenuptial agreements frequently. In my MCOL area, I would typically take a $2500 retainer and bill against that $250 an hour. To meet with the client, understand the client objectives, draft the agreement and asset disclosure (and yes, we use forms but there needs to be quite a bit of customization), meet with client again, communicate with soon-to-be spouse's counsel (I always insisted that soon to be spouse have their own counsel for review), work out minor changes, communicate same to client, handle any re-negotiation, meet for signing and last minute client advising -it's usually about 8-10 hours of work. More if the client or soon to be spouse is disorganized, doesn't have a good handle on what their assets and debts are, can't find their tax records, if either client or soon to be spouse has unreasonable expectations or expectations that did not align together, or were unsophisticated and needed a lot of "legal basics" explained to them.

In a lot of cases, in conjunction with prenuptial drafting, there also needs to be a comprehensive estate plan set up. This is a separate set of documents and separate charge. This is particularly the case when you have a couple marrying in their 50s after either divorce or being widowed, and there are teenage or adult children. Everyone needs to have the same understanding about what happens to assets like retirement accounts, houses, and the like that were the property of one person prior to marriage in the event of either subsequent divorce of 2nd marriage or death of one or both spouses.

I would never review any "prenup" that a non-lawyer client attempted to prepare themselves. That is like me say, "Hey, I don't want to pay an oral surgeon to take out my wisdom teeth. I'm simply going to do it myself, and then have them quickly check my work."
tim1999
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by tim1999 »

I paid about $1,200 in a MCOL area for a prenup several years ago from a very experienced family law attorney at one of the bigger firms in town. To do things properly, my spouse hired a different attorney on his own to review what my attorney drafted, I don't know what that cost was. The structure of my finances was/is pretty simple, no complicated extended family trusts or business ownership, but I had specific provisions/scenarios I wanted covered.
like2read
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by like2read »

Here's a DIY low cost option - $24.49 from NOLO.

https://store.nolo.com/products/prenupt ... -pnup.html

and more background from the same.

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia ... -agreement

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absolute zero
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by absolute zero »

Cobra Commander wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:40 pm
neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm
kadye wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:15 pm A lawyer quoted me $2,500 for a retainer fee and $350/hr after that to write a prenup contract.

The contract should be very straight forward, I think, as all of my asset is in brokerage account. I live in the midwest (think Columbus/Cleveland/Indianapolis etc.)

Is this a "fair" rate? Thanks!
Why not write it yourself? You can always pay an attorney to review it for you. Your partner doesn't have to have an attorney either, but it wouldn't be the worst idea to have them review it as well. You don't have to have a witness or notary, but I would go the notarized route myself.

You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
Guarantee you this will cost more than having the lawyer prepare it. The lawyer will use their own form of agreement and then customize it as needed to OP's situation. Presumably the finances are relatively simple so there will not be much customization needed.

If you use your own document, the lawyer will need to review all of the provision, possibly recommend provisions that are missing and potentially modify existing provisions to conform to statutory or case law requirements.
+1

Taking your own contract to a lawyer for him to review sounds like a big waste of time and money. Just use his.
Katietsu
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Katietsu »

Cobra Commander wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:40 pm
neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm
kadye wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:15 pm A lawyer quoted me $2,500 for a retainer fee and $350/hr after that to write a prenup contract.

The contract should be very straight forward, I think, as all of my asset is in brokerage account. I live in the midwest (think Columbus/Cleveland/Indianapolis etc.)

Is this a "fair" rate? Thanks!
Why not write it yourself? You can always pay an attorney to review it for you. Your partner doesn't have to have an attorney either, but it wouldn't be the worst idea to have them review it as well. You don't have to have a witness or notary, but I would go the notarized route myself.

You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
Guarantee you this will cost more than having the lawyer prepare it. The lawyer will use their own form of agreement and then customize it as needed to OP's situation. Presumably the finances are relatively simple so there will not be much customization needed.

If you use your own document, the lawyer will need to review all of the provision, possibly recommend provisions that are missing and potentially modify existing provisions to conform to statutory or case law requirements.
Agreed. But I have found it helpful to use the online forms to create my own document even when I have no intention of using it. Why? It can be a good way to introduce and guide oneself to and through many of issues that will need decided.
neverpanic
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by neverpanic »

TNL wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:35 pm I would never review any "prenup" that a non-lawyer client attempted to prepare themselves. That is like me say, "Hey, I don't want to pay an oral surgeon to take out my wisdom teeth. I'm simply going to do it myself, and then have them quickly check my work."
Not the same at all. One doesn't need an attorney to write a prenup - it's just a contract between 2 individuals - but the average person probably needs a professional to help get those wisdom teeth out.

The rest of your post was great, though. :wink:
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
bluesky50
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by bluesky50 »

If you have legal service benefit through your company you may want to check whether the prenup service is covered.
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CardinalRule
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by CardinalRule »

I didn't use that particular service, but it was available in the MetLife legal services plan that I was enrolled in at work a couple of years ago, I believe.
bluesky50 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:12 am If you have legal service benefit through your company you may want to check whether the prenup service is covered.
TIAX
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by TIAX »

neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm
kadye wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:15 pm A lawyer quoted me $2,500 for a retainer fee and $350/hr after that to write a prenup contract.

The contract should be very straight forward, I think, as all of my asset is in brokerage account. I live in the midwest (think Columbus/Cleveland/Indianapolis etc.)

Is this a "fair" rate? Thanks!
Why not write it yourself? You can always pay an attorney to review it for you. Your partner doesn't have to have an attorney either, but it wouldn't be the worst idea to have them review it as well. You don't have to have a witness or notary, but I would go the notarized route myself.

You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
No attorney would agree to rubber stamp an agreement written by a non-lawyer for $500.
neverpanic
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by neverpanic »

TIAX wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:04 am
neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
No attorney would agree to rubber stamp an agreement written by a non-lawyer for $500.
It's a competitive marketplace. Even if the attorney reads his attempt, trashes it, and then replaces it with his own template, he's at 1 hour. In the midwest, that's what, $250-300?

There are very complicated pre-nuptial contracts when multiple blended families and significant assets are involved. Anecdotally, there's the story of a 50yo going into his 3rd marriage who spent over $20,000 on a pre-nup and didn't even flinch at the number.

But most pre-nups aren't that. They are typically very simple documents (often establishing separate property/pre-marital assets and anything else to 2 parties want to get in writing before going to the courthouse).
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
soxfan10
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by soxfan10 »

neverpanic wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:05 am
TNL wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:35 pm I would never review any "prenup" that a non-lawyer client attempted to prepare themselves. That is like me say, "Hey, I don't want to pay an oral surgeon to take out my wisdom teeth. I'm simply going to do it myself, and then have them quickly check my work."
Not the same at all. One doesn't need an attorney to write a prenup - it's just a contract between 2 individuals - but the average person probably needs a professional to help get those wisdom teeth out.

The rest of your post was great, though. :wink:
If you want an enforceable document, which is the entire point; it is not something that should be done without professional advice. It is not a simple contract. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules on enforcing them, including some states where the default position is that is unenforceable if the weaker spouse was not represented by counsel. Most states will always have some level of questioning before enforcing the document as they trend towards going against public policy. Basically, if it is worth it to get a pre-nup, there’s almost no situations its not worth it to pay for professionals.

That is not to say that a pre-nup is always the right answer; often it is not and that there are better ways to protect assets. This would be especially true if its family money rather than specifically earned by the spouse.
sfnerd
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by sfnerd »

I paid about 3k for mine, and about 1500 for the lawyer of her choosing to review and advise her.
jbourne99
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by jbourne99 »

I looked at all available online options I could find. Check out rocket lawyer. You can sit down with your significant other and click a bunch of things together and be done.
AB609
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by AB609 »

That doesn't sound out the ballpark but you can always shop around a bit. I'm tight with a buck and like to do things myself but I wouldn't hobby shop something like this. If the future spouse decides to try to invalidate the prenup after you are dead, you are opening the door for them if they didn't have competent legal advice before signing.
neverpanic
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by neverpanic »

soxfan10 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:23 am
neverpanic wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:05 am
TNL wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:35 pm I would never review any "prenup" that a non-lawyer client attempted to prepare themselves. That is like me say, "Hey, I don't want to pay an oral surgeon to take out my wisdom teeth. I'm simply going to do it myself, and then have them quickly check my work."
Not the same at all. One doesn't need an attorney to write a prenup - it's just a contract between 2 individuals - but the average person probably needs a professional to help get those wisdom teeth out.

The rest of your post was great, though. :wink:
If you want an enforceable document, which is the entire point; it is not something that should be done without professional advice. It is not a simple contract. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules on enforcing them, including some states where the default position is that is unenforceable if the weaker spouse was not represented by counsel. Most states will always have some level of questioning before enforcing the document as they trend towards going against public policy. Basically, if it is worth it to get a pre-nup, there’s almost no situations its not worth it to pay for professionals.

That is not to say that a pre-nup is always the right answer; often it is not and that there are better ways to protect assets. This would be especially true if its family money rather than specifically earned by the spouse.
Agreed. It's tough to say "if your NW is ≥ x, then you should pay 1500 + 0.003x" for a pre-nup, but it's important that the doc be enforceable in whatever state a divorce might take place. Speaking only CA & NV, both spouses need to be represented separately and the spouse with the money has to pay for both if the weaker spouse says "what do I need a pre-nup for?"

Family money should be protected by the trust and the new spouse should never be trustee or co-trustee (IMO).

Full disclosure: I come off as very stingy when it comes to family money due to past trauma resulting from not properly protecting assets.
AB609 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:49 am That doesn't sound out the ballpark but you can always shop around a bit. I'm tight with a buck and like to do things myself but I wouldn't hobby shop something like this. If the future spouse decides to try to invalidate the prenup after you are dead, you are opening the door for them if they didn't have competent legal advice before signing.
100% correct. Pre-nups are great for the living, but they are very poor protection for the dead. Set up a trust and keep it up-to-date.

I can write my own pre-nup/post-nup, but the trust is what matters most and must be written by a professional.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
mptfan
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by mptfan »

TNL wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:35 pm I would never review any "prenup" that a non-lawyer client attempted to prepare themselves. That is like me say, "Hey, I don't want to pay an oral surgeon to take out my wisdom teeth. I'm simply going to do it myself, and then have them quickly check my work."
I agree.
mptfan
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by mptfan »

neverpanic wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:05 am
TNL wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:35 pm I would never review any "prenup" that a non-lawyer client attempted to prepare themselves. That is like me say, "Hey, I don't want to pay an oral surgeon to take out my wisdom teeth. I'm simply going to do it myself, and then have them quickly check my work."
Not the same at all. One doesn't need an attorney to write a prenup - it's just a contract between 2 individuals - but the average person probably needs a professional to help get those wisdom teeth out.
The fact that the average person cannot get their wisdom teeth out but they can write a contract I think makes the point stronger, not weaker, because the average person gets fooled into thinking that just because they *can* do it therefore it must not be that hard and the average person often does not know what they do not know and their ignorance ends up getting them into more trouble because they end up botching things up by writing very poor contracts and getting themselves into trouble, but they *can't* take out their own wisdom teeth so they are prevented from getting into trouble by botching that up.
HoosierJim
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by HoosierJim »

Reading this thread, I was curious to what's typically included and found on the web things like property, debt, businesses, alimony, estates & sunset clauses but also found issues relating to frozen eggs, embryos, clones, baby batter, pets, etc. Here are 21 weird things not to miss in a prenup.
TIAX
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by TIAX »

neverpanic wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:58 am
TIAX wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:04 am
neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
No attorney would agree to rubber stamp an agreement written by a non-lawyer for $500.
It's a competitive marketplace. Even if the attorney reads his attempt, trashes it, and then replaces it with his own template, he's at 1 hour. In the midwest, that's what, $250-300?

There are very complicated pre-nuptial contracts when multiple blended families and significant assets are involved. Anecdotally, there's the story of a 50yo going into his 3rd marriage who spent over $20,000 on a pre-nup and didn't even flinch at the number.

But most pre-nups aren't that. They are typically very simple documents (often establishing separate property/pre-marital assets and anything else to 2 parties want to get in writing before going to the courthouse).
You want an attorney to prepare an engagement letter, review an incoherent agreement someone found on the internet and then prepare what he would normally for $250. I encourage you to call around and find an attorney willing to take any matter for $250.
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Lee_WSP »

TIAX wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:30 pm
neverpanic wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:58 am
TIAX wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:04 am
neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
No attorney would agree to rubber stamp an agreement written by a non-lawyer for $500.
It's a competitive marketplace. Even if the attorney reads his attempt, trashes it, and then replaces it with his own template, he's at 1 hour. In the midwest, that's what, $250-300?

There are very complicated pre-nuptial contracts when multiple blended families and significant assets are involved. Anecdotally, there's the story of a 50yo going into his 3rd marriage who spent over $20,000 on a pre-nup and didn't even flinch at the number.

But most pre-nups aren't that. They are typically very simple documents (often establishing separate property/pre-marital assets and anything else to 2 parties want to get in writing before going to the courthouse).
You want an attorney to prepare an engagement letter, review an incoherent agreement someone found on the internet and then prepare what he would normally for $250. I encourage you to call around and find an attorney willing to take any matter for $250.
A brand new one with a fresh shingle might. They either learn their lesson or go under for other reasons though.
bacon4retirement
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by bacon4retirement »

My partner and I went through the NOLO template, and found that default WA divorce law seemed pretty reasonable for our situation as a first time marriage, no kids, and modest assets equitably distributed between us. We ended up drafting a super basic NOLO contract specifying, with the only slightly special provision that we would use WA laws even if we eventually moved to a different state.

I realize some folks want the best possible contract. That is not what I was looking for. I just wanted legal advice to make sure neither of us was agreeing so something grossly unfair. Since prenups can be invalidated unless each spouse has a lawyer, I tried to find a someone to review our pre-negotiated agreement. Like the OP, I had assume perhaps two hours each for two attorneys. Instead, the lawyers I contacted proposed the following process:
1) My spouse and I each hire separate lawyers with $2000+ retainers each
2) The lawyers would negotiate with each other as to which lawyer would draft the document.
3) Each of us would meet separately with our respective lawyer.
4) The lawyers would then negotiate with each other and provide us a rough draft.
5) Play telephone tag between the 4 parties to resolve any differences.
6) Pay roughly $5000+ for a very complicated contract.

Since prenups are basically insurance against a messy divorce, I looked at other alternatives for similar insurance. Roughly half of marriages end in divorce, with the average divorce taking place after 8 years. From this perspective, paying $5000 for a prenup is roughly the equivalent of spending an extra $20,000 in legal fees in the event of a contested divorce. Thinking about it in these terms, we decided to budget for $20,000 marriage strengthening activities instead of hiring lawyers.

Going through the NOLO prenup book was a really good premarital exercise, and really helped make sure my partner and I were on the page about several issues.
CRTR
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by CRTR »

Just to complicate things, I'm going to share the experience of a good friend's son.

He lives in the greater LA/Hollywood area. He just got married for the second time. He is VERY HNW (2 tech startups). In his first marriage, he had a prenup written by an attorney in one of the largest firms in LA. He paid a large amount of $$ for the document. Long story short: in his divorce, his ex-wife's attorney contested just about every word of the prenup. In addition, his ex-wife lied and said they had a verbal agreement that he would tear up the prenup if they remained marred >5 years. He ended up spending a fortune in legal fees. When the dust settled, he paid quite a bit more than what he thought the spirit and intent of the original prenup provided for and the process dragged on for over a year . . . even though he could afford it all, he was pissed.

For the second marriage, he consulted a few of the best known divorce lawyers in the area for their recommendation/advise re: prenups. Interestingly, ALL said they prefer a personal property trust over a prenup for existing assets and ownership interests. In that part of CA, prenups are commonly contested, resulting in higher legal fees and often less favorable settlements, etc etc. Apparently, the terms of well written trust are more difficult to contest?? In fact, a couple of the attorney's he met with stated that they wouldn't even attempt going after trust asset if the trust were written well. In addition, using trusts did not require the knowledge or participation of his wife-to-be, thus skipping what can be a very stressful prenup discussion and negoatiation.

Just tossing that out there for you to think about or investigate . . .
Bobby206
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Bobby206 »

Don't go cheap. Get it done RIGHT. Divorces happen 50% of the time.

In my area $2,500 would be a general practitioner and not a family law expert. You can spend as much as $10k or $20k in total.

Retainer plus hourly doesn't tell you the total. Your total could be $1,000 and could be $10,000. Might want to ask for a fee estimate or fee range assuming nothing unusual happens.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Lee_WSP »

This topic seems to come up often here. The bottom line is that unless you want something different than what the state law is, penups are not always worthwhile and if it deviates significantly from the guidelines, enforcing them isn't a piece of cake.
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TNL
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by TNL »

mptfan wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:00 pm
neverpanic wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:05 am
TNL wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:35 pm I would never review any "prenup" that a non-lawyer client attempted to prepare themselves. That is like me say, "Hey, I don't want to pay an oral surgeon to take out my wisdom teeth. I'm simply going to do it myself, and then have them quickly check my work."
Not the same at all. One doesn't need an attorney to write a prenup - it's just a contract between 2 individuals - but the average person probably needs a professional to help get those wisdom teeth out.
The fact that the average person cannot get their wisdom teeth out but they can write a contract I think makes the point stronger, not weaker, because the average person gets fooled into thinking that just because they *can* do it therefore it must not be that hard and the average person often does not know what they do not know and their ignorance ends up getting them into more trouble because they end up botching things up by writing very poor contracts and getting themselves into trouble, but they *can't* take out their own wisdom teeth so they are prevented from getting into trouble by botching that up.
Exactly. When I practiced family law, some of my most profitable cases were ones where I had to come in and fix a divorce that non-attorneys had prepared themselves. They usually forgot language to require a home to be refinanced, or retirement to be divided, or for a property to be sold. Usually they had done the divorce themselves on the cheap, to "save money." Having attorneys re-do it cost much more than having it done correctly by attorneys the first time.
TIAX
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by TIAX »

CRTR wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:40 pm Just to complicate things, I'm going to share the experience of a good friend's son.

He lives in the greater LA/Hollywood area. He just got married for the second time. He is VERY HNW (2 tech startups). In his first marriage, he had a prenup written by an attorney in one of the largest firms in LA. He paid a large amount of $$ for the document. Long story short: in his divorce, his ex-wife's attorney contested just about every word of the prenup. In addition, his ex-wife lied and said they had a verbal agreement that he would tear up the prenup if they remained marred >5 years. He ended up spending a fortune in legal fees. When the dust settled, he paid quite a bit more than what he thought the spirit and intent of the original prenup provided for and the process dragged on for over a year . . . even though he could afford it all, he was pissed.

For the second marriage, he consulted a few of the best known divorce lawyers in the area for their recommendation/advise re: prenups. Interestingly, ALL said they prefer a personal property trust over a prenup for existing assets and ownership interests. In that part of CA, prenups are commonly contested, resulting in higher legal fees and often less favorable settlements, etc etc. Apparently, the terms of well written trust are more difficult to contest?? In fact, a couple of the attorney's he met with stated that they wouldn't even attempt going after trust asset if the trust were written well. In addition, using trusts did not require the knowledge or participation of his wife-to-be, thus skipping what can be a very stressful prenup discussion and negoatiation.

Just tossing that out there for you to think about or investigate . . .
This is really helpful. Perhaps others can comment on how common this is in other states.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Lee_WSP »

TIAX wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:23 am
CRTR wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:40 pm Just to complicate things, I'm going to share the experience of a good friend's son.

He lives in the greater LA/Hollywood area. He just got married for the second time. He is VERY HNW (2 tech startups). In his first marriage, he had a prenup written by an attorney in one of the largest firms in LA. He paid a large amount of $$ for the document. Long story short: in his divorce, his ex-wife's attorney contested just about every word of the prenup. In addition, his ex-wife lied and said they had a verbal agreement that he would tear up the prenup if they remained marred >5 years. He ended up spending a fortune in legal fees. When the dust settled, he paid quite a bit more than what he thought the spirit and intent of the original prenup provided for and the process dragged on for over a year . . . even though he could afford it all, he was pissed.

For the second marriage, he consulted a few of the best known divorce lawyers in the area for their recommendation/advise re: prenups. Interestingly, ALL said they prefer a personal property trust over a prenup for existing assets and ownership interests. In that part of CA, prenups are commonly contested, resulting in higher legal fees and often less favorable settlements, etc etc. Apparently, the terms of well written trust are more difficult to contest?? In fact, a couple of the attorney's he met with stated that they wouldn't even attempt going after trust asset if the trust were written well. In addition, using trusts did not require the knowledge or participation of his wife-to-be, thus skipping what can be a very stressful prenup discussion and negoatiation.

Just tossing that out there for you to think about or investigate . . .
This is really helpful. Perhaps others can comment on how common this is in other states.
By definition a trust is far far far easier to defend. The only attack would be if it were funded with community assets; but the trust itself would be fine, if it were indeed funded with community assets, the offending party would just have to repay it back into the community and then split that pot.

A prenup requires proof that both sides had equal or equal enough negotiating power. This requirement may be weaker the further from the coasts you go.

The problem comes down to a really wealthy man taking on a trophy wife and trying to keep her out of what the state says she should get. One half of the community property which is defined as any assets acquired during marriage. It's extremely hard to prove that such a prenuptial agreement is anything but a blatant attempt to circumvent such laws.
Bobby206
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Bobby206 »

CRTR wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:40 pm Just to complicate things, I'm going to share the experience of a good friend's son.

He lives in the greater LA/Hollywood area. He just got married for the second time. He is VERY HNW (2 tech startups). In his first marriage, he had a prenup written by an attorney in one of the largest firms in LA. He paid a large amount of $$ for the document. Long story short: in his divorce, his ex-wife's attorney contested just about every word of the prenup. In addition, his ex-wife lied and said they had a verbal agreement that he would tear up the prenup if they remained marred >5 years. He ended up spending a fortune in legal fees. When the dust settled, he paid quite a bit more than what he thought the spirit and intent of the original prenup provided for and the process dragged on for over a year . . . even though he could afford it all, he was pissed.

For the second marriage, he consulted a few of the best known divorce lawyers in the area for their recommendation/advise re: prenups. Interestingly, ALL said they prefer a personal property trust over a prenup for existing assets and ownership interests. In that part of CA, prenups are commonly contested, resulting in higher legal fees and often less favorable settlements, etc etc. Apparently, the terms of well written trust are more difficult to contest?? In fact, a couple of the attorney's he met with stated that they wouldn't even attempt going after trust asset if the trust were written well. In addition, using trusts did not require the knowledge or participation of his wife-to-be, thus skipping what can be a very stressful prenup discussion and negoatiation.

Just tossing that out there for you to think about or investigate . . .
I fully agree wit the trust strategy but I would say it's best to turn the trust off the day you get married. That is, stop putting new money into the trust unless it is clearly separate property. Of particular concern is a house with a mortgage which can be a mix of community and separate property. Also, I would always advise a pre nup on top of the trust because there are a lot of issues that a trust can't cover. Plus, though pre nups are contested sometimes they work far more than the ones that are overturned.
softwaregeek
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by softwaregeek »

TIAX wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:23 am
CRTR wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:40 pm Just to complicate things, I'm going to share the experience of a good friend's son.

He lives in the greater LA/Hollywood area. He just got married for the second time. He is VERY HNW (2 tech startups). In his first marriage, he had a prenup written by an attorney in one of the largest firms in LA. He paid a large amount of $$ for the document. Long story short: in his divorce, his ex-wife's attorney contested just about every word of the prenup. In addition, his ex-wife lied and said they had a verbal agreement that he would tear up the prenup if they remained marred >5 years. He ended up spending a fortune in legal fees. When the dust settled, he paid quite a bit more than what he thought the spirit and intent of the original prenup provided for and the process dragged on for over a year . . . even though he could afford it all, he was pissed.

For the second marriage, he consulted a few of the best known divorce lawyers in the area for their recommendation/advise re: prenups. Interestingly, ALL said they prefer a personal property trust over a prenup for existing assets and ownership interests. In that part of CA, prenups are commonly contested, resulting in higher legal fees and often less favorable settlements, etc etc. Apparently, the terms of well written trust are more difficult to contest?? In fact, a couple of the attorney's he met with stated that they wouldn't even attempt going after trust asset if the trust were written well. In addition, using trusts did not require the knowledge or participation of his wife-to-be, thus skipping what can be a very stressful prenup discussion and negoatiation.

Just tossing that out there for you to think about or investigate . . .
This is really helpful. Perhaps others can comment on how common this is in other states.
I can't comment on how strong pre-nups are. I paid for my attorney and one for my now wife. I paid 3-4k well over a decade ago for the pair of attorneys. My attorney claimed it was solid the way we did it under (California) law.

I can tell you that trusts in California are a very hard nut to crack. Had to dissuade someone from spending thousands of dollars to try because it's basically impossible. Essentially, short of incontrovertible evidence of major fraud, not going to happen.

That being said, the new thing, I understand, are South Dakota trusts. Those apparently have greater secrecy than other states and there is no requirement to even notify about their existence (except presumably to the IRS).
kiwi123
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by kiwi123 »

Note: significant other must select/choose her own attorney without any influence from you. If you pay for it, or "suggest" who they see, then it could come back and bite you and it can be seen as undue influence by the courts. Yet another reason to pay to get it done correctly vs. trying to save a $.
spectec
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by spectec »

In the tax prep business, when someone calls to inquire about fees one of the best ways to get me to laugh silently is to say "My situation is simple. It shouldn't take you very long". When I was younger I'd gather all the info I could and then quote an estimate at least double what I expected it to be. Now I just quote an estimate high enough to get them to go somewhere else, if I give a figure at all.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers
mptfan
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by mptfan »

spectec wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:15 am In the tax prep business, when someone calls to inquire about fees one of the best ways to get me to laugh silently is to say "My situation is simple. It shouldn't take you very long".
My first question would be "If it's so simple, why are you calling me?"
spectec
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by spectec »

Good question, and more direct. I like it. There are lots of ways to communicate, aren't there?
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers
neverpanic
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by neverpanic »

TIAX wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:30 pm
neverpanic wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:58 am
TIAX wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:04 am
neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
No attorney would agree to rubber stamp an agreement written by a non-lawyer for $500.
It's a competitive marketplace. Even if the attorney reads his attempt, trashes it, and then replaces it with his own template, he's at 1 hour. In the midwest, that's what, $250-300?

There are very complicated pre-nuptial contracts when multiple blended families and significant assets are involved. Anecdotally, there's the story of a 50yo going into his 3rd marriage who spent over $20,000 on a pre-nup and didn't even flinch at the number.

But most pre-nups aren't that. They are typically very simple documents (often establishing separate property/pre-marital assets and anything else to 2 parties want to get in writing before going to the courthouse).
You want an attorney to prepare an engagement letter, review an incoherent agreement someone found on the internet and then prepare what he would normally for $250. I encourage you to call around and find an attorney willing to take any matter for $250.
I took your suggestion and made some calls, because I was interested in the question. Both offices in Vegas said a simple template prenup would run $250-300. They both said or suggested it would be a waste of time to not simply use what they provide. For LA, the results were a bit different. One said it would be $500 for their template, and $750-1000 if I wanted a DIY. And if it's more involved, $500 for the first hour, $400/hour after that. The other quoted me $1000 flat.

That's a small sample size, but hobby-shopping it costs about an hour, which is within the range of expected outcomes. $500/hour isn't unusual for an attorney in LA, but I have paid as little as $200/hour there within the past 5 years.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
TIAX
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by TIAX »

neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:59 am
TIAX wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:30 pm
neverpanic wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:58 am
TIAX wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:04 am
neverpanic wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:18 pm You should be under $500 all-in, both sides plus notary.
No attorney would agree to rubber stamp an agreement written by a non-lawyer for $500.
It's a competitive marketplace. Even if the attorney reads his attempt, trashes it, and then replaces it with his own template, he's at 1 hour. In the midwest, that's what, $250-300?

There are very complicated pre-nuptial contracts when multiple blended families and significant assets are involved. Anecdotally, there's the story of a 50yo going into his 3rd marriage who spent over $20,000 on a pre-nup and didn't even flinch at the number.

But most pre-nups aren't that. They are typically very simple documents (often establishing separate property/pre-marital assets and anything else to 2 parties want to get in writing before going to the courthouse).
You want an attorney to prepare an engagement letter, review an incoherent agreement someone found on the internet and then prepare what he would normally for $250. I encourage you to call around and find an attorney willing to take any matter for $250.
I took your suggestion and made some calls, because I was interested in the question. Both offices in Vegas said a simple template prenup would run $250-300. They both said or suggested it would be a waste of time to not simply use what they provide. For LA, the results were a bit different. One said it would be $500 for their template, and $750-1000 if I wanted a DIY. And if it's more involved, $500 for the first hour, $400/hour after that. The other quoted me $1000 flat.

That's a small sample size, but hobby-shopping it costs about an hour, which is within the range of expected outcomes. $500/hour isn't unusual for an attorney in LA, but I have paid as little as $200/hour there within the past 5 years.
Impressive that you went through that exercise. As you know, however, both sides generally need to be represented by independent counsel so you're probably looking at at least double that, and more if there is negotiation between the parties (which there likely would be if both attorneys are doing their job, getting the best deal for their client).
Money Market
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by Money Market »

CRTR wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:40 pm Just to complicate things, I'm going to share the experience of a good friend's son.
What was the result of the judgment? Did the judge decide to enforce the prenup eventually?
CRTR
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Re: Lawyers - How much does it cost to write a prenup contract?

Post by CRTR »

Money Market wrote: Fri Aug 21, 2020 3:40 am
CRTR wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:40 pm Just to complicate things, I'm going to share the experience of a good friend's son.
What was the result of the judgment? Did the judge decide to enforce the prenup eventually?
The short answer is no. I don't know all the details but, as I recall the major issues were related to income streams from some software he authored and licensing agreements. The prenup was written to exclude those items from community property calculations . . . ultimately, they were not. One thing I do recall was the word "income" was contested and he wasn't happy with the judge's interpretation. Per the attorneys he spoke with more recently, if those business assets had been held in trust, there would have been no basis for contest. The presence of a prenup was an opportunity for his wife's legal team and they seized upon it.

In the end, he was so dismayed and disgusted with the process that he was willing to give up a bunch of cash to be done with it. Even though he could afford it financially, emotionally, it was quite painful.
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