How do I ensure that the probate attorney doesn’t ‘pad’ their hours?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I ensure that the probate attorney doesn’t ‘pad’ their hours?

My Grandfather’s estate lawyer in Buffalo, NY dragged probate out until all of
the assets were essentially paid to the lawyer. How do I avoid the same thing
happening with my parents’ estate? My mom’s lawyer will charge 265 per hour, so
if he drags this out, lawyers fees could easily eat up her estate.

Asked on August 11, 2016 under Estate Planning, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Negotiate a flat fee for the probate; or an hourly rate with a cap; or a payment scheme under which the lawyer gets some reasonable percentage of the estate; or find a lawyer with a lower hourly rate. That's really all you can do--don't hire a lawyer until you find one whose arrangements you are satisfied with. Or alternately: don't hire a lawyer at all: as an executor, you are legally allowe to proceed without an attorney in the vast majority of straightforward estates. 

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