Wait!? You Mean I Don’t Pay the Probate Attorney?
Clients are shocked when I tell them they don’t have to pay me for the probate themselves. Everyone seems to think that executors or family members of an estate are simply stuck floating the bill for the attorney. Well, in many states, including Washington, they have structured the probate statutes in such a way that the estate itself will pay for the probate attorney; not the executor and/or family!
So if the estate pays for your attorney’s fees, then I don’t have to pay you a dime?
For the most part, that is true. However, when a client retains me to assist them with a probate, I do request that they provide me with a small amount for purposes of Court filing costs, purchase of death certificates, and other similar costs. But, even these costs are reimbursed to the client once the administration of the estate has gathered assets!
While I can’t speak for all attorneys, other than the initial costs (usually less than $500.00), my office generally waits to send out its first invoice for services until AFTER the executor has gathered the assets of the estate and placed them in to an estate account.
Once the assets are gathered into the estate account, I will then send out an invoice. As such, my fees are then paid directly from the estate account and does not cost the executor or family a dime.
But is there ever a situation where the executor of family might end up having to pay the attorney?
Yes, there are some situations where the executor might have to pay the attorney out of pocket. However, this generally only occurs when the estate is entirely insolvent and the estate simply does not have the money to pay for the attorney.
The important thing to take away from the above is that you should not hesitate to hire an attorney for a probate matter. Not only does it help insure that the probate process will be adhered to in accordance with the relevant laws, it also is paid for by the estate (not you)!
If you are in need of assistance with the probate of a loved one, or if you simply have more questions as to how the probate process works, Nowakowski Legal PLLC would be glad to assist. Contact us for a free consultation today.