Loke Moore Law Legal Fees
You deserve value for your hard-earned dollars – not surprises.
Once, when skiing in Colorado, I visited a “clinic” because I had a tremendous headache that I was sure was caused by altitude illness. Expecting a free shot of oxygen, my visit was instead treated as an “emergency room” visit, and I was charged $750. I was furious. I will not treat my clients this way.
Historically, attorneys have charged by the hour. “Don’t worry, Ms. Client, you can rest assured that I will carefully track each hour I spend on your matter, and you will receive a detailed invoice every month describing the work I did and letting you know how much you owe me”, is not the model I want to follow for charging for my services.
Once we’ve connected and established that we both want to pursue things further, we will ask for some information and schedule an appointment with you. We DO charge $300 for Estate Planning and a larger fee for Long Term Care Medicaid planning. We charge more for Medicaid planning due to the extensive amount of research involved in looking at all of your legal documents, reviewing your resources for the past 5 years and reviewing your income. Once that research is compiled, we will then apply current Medicaid rules to your situation and provide you with a Medicaid Planning Letter that will suggest one or more Medicaid planning strategies. Medicaid Planning also includes 6 months of communications after the consultation to answer any questions about the information provided in the Medicaid Planning Letter at no additional charge. We will need the requested information and the $300 or Long-Term Plan fee payment by the time we meet. Our first meeting generally lasts about an hour for Estate Planning and two hours for Medicaid Planning. We will do a lot of listening, and we both will likely ask many questions. At the end of the meeting, we’ll agree on a plan of action, and we will tell you how much we will charge for our additional services. If you want to move ahead with us, you’ll need to make a payment at that time.
We collect the fee up front for planning services, although we can accommodate a payment plan. For probate matters, we may collect a portion of the fee up front and collect the remainder once you’ve been appointed personal representative and have access to your deceased loved one’s bank account.
For both planning and probate matters, we will quote a flat fee for completing the bulk of the work, and we will charge hourly for those services that sometimes are quick but other times take a lot of time. The hourly work is your opportunity to keep legal fees to a minimum: the more you help us, the less time we must spend on your matter. As one example, if we are handling the estate of an individual who did not leave a will, you can help by working with your two “disinterested witnesses” to craft their testimony for the court hearing, reduce their testimony to an affidavit, and deliver their affidavit to us for review and submission to the court.
You may have heard about the client who insisted she hire a lawyer with one arm. She did not want to hear her lawyer say, “On the one hand, I generally charge flat fees; but, on the other hand, your case is different, so…” We hate to admit it, but it’s true: Your case may be different. We can charge a flat fee when we know about how long it will take us to complete the work on your matter, and we have an idea of prevailing rates for similar services in our area. If we can’t quote you a flat fee at the end of our initial meeting, you will know why. We can set some parameters and possibly collect some additional info that may help to quantify the fee later. If you don’t have the certainty of a flat fee, we will communicate frequently as your matter progresses to prevent invoice surprises. We are committed to fee transparency.