Not all probate lawyers are the same. Probate lawyer fees vary widely depending on the quality of the lawyer’s work. While it’s possible to find a cheap lawyer, you can’t expect high-quality services at a reasonable price. The process of probating an estate can be stressful, and it’s important to understand how much an attorney charges. Here are a few things to consider before making a decision:
Often, attorneys charge a retainer, a pre-determined amount that is not meant to cover all of the cost of the service. While this initial payment is not intended to pay for all costs of a legal service, it is a good way to establish a working relationship between the lawyer and the client. If the lawyer reaches a predetermined amount during the course of the process, the lawyer can deduct the remaining funds. Probate attorneys usually charge an initial retainer of $3K to $10K, although some renowned lawyers may ask for as much as $20K or more.
There are no specific Pennsylvania laws regarding the fees of probate attorneys. While the law allows for a challenge to a lawyer’s fee, there is no specific formula to determine what a reasonable fee should be. While the Johnson Estate Executor Schedule provides an important precedent, it’s not yet a solid law. However, it serves as a benchmark for determining whether an attorney’s fee is excessive. When a lawyer’s fees are unreasonable, the court may consider all of the relevant actors in a case to determine if it’s reasonable or not.