A probate is a special proceeding required to establish the validity of the will. It’s a proceeding in rem that’s mandatory and imprescriptible. Meaning to say, it’s binding to the whole world, and it doesn’t prescribe no matter how late it’s being initiated. Work with an estate planning attorney in Farmington for probate and estate planning.

Most of the time, it’s the person designated as the Personal Representative (PR) of the will who oversees the probate proceeding. However, it doesn’t mean creditors or beneficiaries are barred from launching such an action. It starts with filing the petition with the respective probate court.

estate planning attorney Farmington

Why are people intimidated to hire an estate planning and probate lawyer?

The main reason why people are hesitant to hire an estate planning attorney in Farmington, NM,  is that they don’t see a price tag or flat rate in sight. Since they don’t know how much such a service costs, they’re afraid that they might find themselves owing in the end.

However, it doesn’t have to be this complicated. When you need help, consult a lawyer and directly ask how much they charge for a probate proceeding. After you agree on the price, secure a written payment agreement to protect yourself.

How do estate planning and probate lawyers charge for their services?

A Farmington estate planning attorney charges differently, but it could only be either of these three payment methods — by the hour, flat fee, or estate percentage.

The most common of these three is hourly charging, where hourly rates vary depending on the location and how skilled your lawyer is. In most rural areas, the hourly rate could go as high as $150 per hour.

In cities, it’s most common for lawyers to charge a minimum of $200 per hour. Take note that specialists can also charge a higher price than general practitioners. You could also expect them to be more thorough and efficient.

Aside from the hourly rate, some probate and estate planning attorneys in Farmington, NM, choose to charge a flat fee. Most lawyers exposed to estate planning and probate can anticipate the workload volume — that’s why they can easily peg a lump sum to charge their clients.

Of course, this amount is most likely proportional to the amount of work and effort they put in while working on the case. These are some of the lawyers’ responses to their clients, who are more comfortable transacting with them when they know the meter isn’t running all the time.

If your estate planning attorney in Farmington, New Mexico, quotes you a flat fee, be clear as to its coverage. Most of the time, it doesn’t include other costs like appraiser’s fees and court filing fees. And if your case is a bit complicated — like one involving a tax return or contesting a will — the quoted cost can get higher. 

Lastly, some lawyers also peg the price to a certain percentage of the estate. However, this is something that you can negotiate, as lawyers are not required to charge their services this way.

You can ask a Farmington estate planning attorney if they could be paid by the hour or through a flat fee. Though many still prefer to get paid commensurate with the work that needs to be done, everything is negotiable.

What makes the percentage fee unreasonable?

Some people ditch this payment scheme since they deem what their probate lawyer is charging unconscionable and inequitable. Why? Because the percentage fee they’re asking is based on the probate asset’s gross value instead of its net value.

If, for example, the estate includes a house worth $500,000 but has a $200,000 unpaid mortgage, the fee for an estate planning attorney in Farmington is usually based on $500,000 and not $300,000.

Though it seems exorbitant, this setup is not prohibited by law. The reason behind such a scheme is that the more expensive the house (irrespective of the unpaid mortgage), the more extensive the probate paperwork is.

Let the Legal Professional Take Care of Your Wishes

As people would put it, death and taxes are the only things that are certain in this world. Its certainty allows people to plan their deaths during their lifetime. With the help of an estate attorney, you can ensure that your death will not only open the succession for your legal heirs. It also ensures your assets will be justly and equitably partitioned.

The next time you look for an estate planning attorney in Farmington, reach out to The Law Office of Cristy J. Carbon-Gaul. We can also assist you in the following practice areas:

Consult with us now!