Just be prepared to move on and interview other attorneys if she declines. If he quotes you a $5,000 flat fee and he bills his time at $200 an hour, he expects that he and his firm will spend about 20 to 25 hours on your case. Consider setting up telephone interviews with at least two estate planning attorneys before meeting in person. An estate planning attorney is in business to earn a living, and time spent with you takes time away from billable hours that he could be spending on other clients' matters. Toby Walters is a financial writer, investor, and lifelong learner. To keep up to date with changing laws and new planning options sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here:  Subscribe to our newsletter today! Each staff member involved in a given matter keeps track of his or her time, and bills at a predetermined rate. A flat fee is a composite of the attorney's standard hourly rate and how many hours he thinks he'll have to invest in your case to resolve it. Others might think the Agent just drops by a couple of times a week to check on the incapacitated person. New clients pay an initial flat fee of $400 for most consultations. Before setting a fee structure, an Agent should know that there are two groups that could bring payment complaints. This is a difficult question confronted by many individuals acting as power of attorney for family members or friends. The general rule is that the higher an attorney's hourly rate, the more experience he has. Obtain a letter from the primary care doctor for the incapacitated person stating that they are in need of someone to actively act as Agent. If you get a fee quote that is very high, inquire of the work that the attorney must do to get the application through. We will be happy to discuss the choices with you, and explain how our fee structure would apply in the event we were managing your assets at some future time. Busier attorneys might not offer this option. All fees are subject to the specific facts of the case. For more information about elder law issues—How to protect your home and your financial assets from the rising cost of nursing care and much more, The Importance Of An Estate Planning Questionnaire, click here to sign up for our monthly newsletter. Ask an attorney who's going to charge you more than another exactly why his fee is so much higher. There isn’t a clear-cut answer as to the cost of hiring an elder care attorney for Medicaid planning purposes. We usually charge hourly fees. Check out our other great articles throughout this site that more specifically address the different ways to protect and preserve your assets. Some attorneys will also include assistance with funding your living trust as part of their estate planning flat fees if you decide you want one, while others charge a separate funding fee based on the value of the property they'll be helping you move into the ownership of your trust. Our usual flat-fee charges for uncomplicated matters are: Will Preparation (including powers of attorney) Single person — $775; Married couple — $975; With trust provisions — $1,200-$1,750 (or more, depending on complexity) Trusts (usually including pourover will and powers of attorney) The downside to this approach is that it leaves a great deal of uncertainty for you as to what the final total cost will be. Keep a detailed ledger of all that they do on a daily basis for the incapacitated person and how long each task takes. Claim the payments as income on their personal income tax returns. By using The Balance, you accept our. That would be like the attorney giving her advice away for free. We do, however, bill for costs we have advanced for things like court filing fees, certified copy charges, publication costs, recording fees, deposition costs, and service of process charges. Any changes to fees will be made in writing. The children and beneficiaries of the incapacitated person. It will be hard to argue to the PA DHS that this is income and not a gift if you are not actually claiming the payments as income when you are filing with the PA Department of Revenue. Other than having a proper and comprehensive Elder Law focused power of attorney document, some of the other most common planning considerations are:  Creation of Last Will & Testament, Creation of a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, use of a Medicaid Compliant Immediate Annuity, qualification of the Family Caregiver Exception, creation of the Caregiver Agreement, Irrevocable Burial Reserve, Monthly Gifting Exception, and Living Will. Ask what that hourly rate is, and find out how much you'll be charged for the services of other attorneys and paralegals in the firm. Most Agents will charge on an hourly basis, but there are occasions where they will charge on a flat fee amount on a monthly basis. On April 13, 2017 / caregiver assistance, Elder Law, Power of Attorney, Uncategorized How Much Should An Agent Under A General Durable Power of Attorney be Paid ? Local and statewide business practices can influence what an estate planning attorney will charge for handling a particular matter, but her level of experience factors in as well. This will give you an idea of how many hours the attorney expects the firm to spend on your estate plan. Most estate planning attorneys don't charge a fee for the initial meeting, but this is by no means a universal rule. Cost of Elder Law Attorneys and Medicaid Planning. We might note that there are two ways attorneys charge for applications: 1) attorney asks for a retainer and bills hourly against the retainer; 2) a flat fee. The general rule is that the higher an attorney's hourly rate, the more experience he has. We charge for some activities at a flat rate, rather than hourly. During our initial consultation, we will discuss the fee for any continuing representation. When we do, we may charge hourly fees or a percentage of the value of the trust or estate we are managing. This will save your time and the attorney's time...if she's willing. Medicaid Department of Human Services. If the incapacitated individual is able to understand and sign an agreement, a detailed family care contract should be signed by the parties. Any changes to fees will be made in writing. Sometimes you have to go with your instincts. This will give you an idea of how many hours the attorney expects the firm to spend on your estate plan. That said, this is also his opportunity to "sell" you on retaining his services and to get an idea of what your matter involves. Compare top Texas lawyers' fees, client reviews, lawyer rating, case results, education, awards, publications, social media and work history. How to Find an Elder Law Attorney . Julie Ann Garber wrote about estate planning for The Balance, and has almost 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer. What Will You Be Charged if You Hire an Advisor? Think about how comfortable you feel with each, because you'll have to be open and honest when discussing the most intimate details of your personal life and finances with this individual. It can help to understand the general rules and fee-setting process. Only you'll know for sure who you'll be able to trust with this important part of your life. It's a non-profit organization that's been around to assist seniors since 1987. Personal attorney fees are deductible in a few types of cases. Your goal for this phone conversation should be determining whether you want to work with her or not. Hourly fees are billed each month. Find the best elder law attorney serving San Antonio. Your goal shouldn't necessarily be to find the cheapest attorney. You should receive at least three benefits from hiring an elder law attorney: First, an explanation of how the rules work regarding Medicaid eligibility, the planning options available to your mother, and the process of being admitted to the facility and applying for benefits. Fees are not the crucial factor in selecting a lawyer but fees do matter. They have day-to-day decisions, worries and obligations that others cannot understand unless they have been in that position. Members are located in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The Balance uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. For assistance developing a comprehensive estate plan or nursing home asset protection plan in Pennsylvania, please contact Douglas L. Kaune, Esquire at (610) 933-8069 or email him at dkaune@utbf.com. This is intended to provide clients with certainty about the final fee, and to encourage clients to make contact as necessary (without worrying about increases in the bill for each contact). He has a passion for analyzing economic and financial data and sharing it with others. Watch this video or read below for the two primary ways we charge fees. How Much Do Accountants Charge for Tax Preparation? And, get a second opinion. We do not bill for ordinary postage, copying, long distance, and other telephone expenses. It can go either way. Research what it would cost to hire someone else to perform the same services in your area. Sometimes we act as trustee, personal representative, conservator, guardian or agent under a power of attorney. You may deduct 100% of the attorney fees you incur as a plaintiff in certain types of employment-related claims. Last Updated October, 2020. Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees, P.C. This gives you the opportunity to compare the flat fees quoted by each attorney and narrow down your choice as to who you want to meet with in person. To be certified, attorneys must, among other criteria, pass an exam, practice elder law at least 16 hours a week and participate in ongoing, continuing education courses. It's common these days to handle a significant amount of business by telephone. How to Know If Estate Planning Attorney's Fees Are Reasonable, Learn About Hiring a Financial Planner and How Much One Costs, 6 Questions to Ask a Prospective Trust and Estate Planning Attorney. is a full service law firm which has three convenient office locations in Phoenixville, West Chester and Paoli, Pennsylvania. I most commonly see hourly rates for family members acting as Agent in the $20.00 to $40.00 range. The only reasonable alternative would be for the attorney to charge you on an hourly basis. Don't expect a great deal of decisive information in an initial phone interview. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is comprised of lawyers who specialize in this field. There is no perfect statutory answer in Pennsylvania, but it is clear that a person actively acting as power of attorney is entitled to fair and reasonable compensation for the work they are doing. Each attorney should be able to get a feel for what your needs are during this conversation and quote you a flat fee for your basic estate plan. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. (NAELA) was founded in 1987 as a professional association of attorneys who are dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to people as they age and people with special needs. Hourly rates are rarely used as most of the time we do a fixed or flat fee for our legal work. Doug’s entire practice is focused on elder law, Medicaid application, estate planning, trust planning, estate administration and protection of clients’ assets from nursing home spending and estate and inheritance taxation. This can be an exhausting a thankless job that can limit a person’s ability to work and care for their own family. Personal Legal Fees You Can Deduct. The firm primarily services clients in Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia, Bucks and Berks Counties, but can represent clients throughout Pennsylvania. List all of the tasks they perform for the incapacitated person. They may not like to see their future inheritance being reduced by the payments being made to the Agent. In the end, other family members should be thankful that someone has taken on the responsibility of handling the incapacitated person’s affairs.