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probating an estate: use an attorney or DIY?

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by Slim, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. Slim

    Slim Formula 3

    Oct 11, 2001
    1,735
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Full Name:
    richard
    Perhaps some of you have served as executor for a parent's estate before and have been through this process. Did you find the help of an attorney necessary? Did they charge you the statutory fees or hourly? I'm self-employed and so have the time to deal with all this stuff myself and though my dad's estate isn't huge by ferrarichat standards, it's enough that the attorney (the one who prepared the will) could easily get 20-25k if we agree to the statutory 4% on first 100k and 3% on the next 900k fees. I just can't see him really "earning" that fee: At his hourly rate that would be 125 hours of his time and I don't see how he's going to spend that on our stuff. (fwiw, my dad's CPA partner of 25 years will be assisting me in getting all the assets and debts figured out and all tax returns filed. There are also no complicated instructions about setting up trusts or anything and it should end up being a simple equal distribution to the three sons)

    Nolo press has a book on probating an estate in California and I've used some of their books to do legal things myself in the past. I'm just wondering if there are any sticky points that would cause you to recommend that I just bite the bullet and let the attorney take care of it and pocket his 25k or whatever.

    Thanks for any advice,

    Slim
     
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  3. BWS550

    BWS550 Wants to be a mod

    Apr 1, 2002
    8,933
    NEW JERSEY
    Full Name:
    BRUCE WELLINGTON
    SLIM

    I WOULD LEAVE YOUR QUESTIONS TO THE EXPERTS HERE ON F-CHAT

    THEY ARE OUR FRIENDS, UNBIASED, AND NOT CHARGING YOU FOR THE HOURLY RATE

    ASK ART CHAMBERS, KEN ROSS, OR WM HART FOR HELP HERE...........

    GOOD LUCK,

    BRUCE
     
  4. MARQ

    MARQ Formula 3

    Feb 9, 2002
    1,924
    East Coast US
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    Marq
    I've been working on settling my Grandmother's estate on my Mother's behalf for nearly a year now. She had extensive holdings (real estate, partnerships in office bldgs. and hotels, stocks, bonds, etc.) and I have found an attorney's help quite necessary and well worth the fee.
    I'm sure every situation is different but that's my .02 based on my limited experience.
     
  5. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
    44,180
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    Dirty Harry
    Slim, regardless of what method you use to take care of these details when the unfortunate time comes - make sure of one thing:
    You and your brothers stay brothers.
     
  6. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
    5,308
    N.Richland Hills, Tx
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    James Dunne
    My wife was just executrice for her grandmothers estate. I highly recommend an attorney just to make sure everything is done correctly. Selling of vehicles, homes, settling outstanding bills, taking care of checking, savings and investment accounts. Work with an attorney through this. The fee may seem a little high for the work they seem to be doing but believe me, if you had to do it yourself you would look back and wish you had paid.

    Just my .02 worth. Use an attorney.
     
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  8. Slim

    Slim Formula 3

    Oct 11, 2001
    1,735
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Full Name:
    richard
    Thanks guys. Do any of the lawyers here have anything to say about what services they would provide that are difficult to do on our own and if they feel the 4% of the gross estate is a fair fee to be charged? I realize I will most likely need some legal help along the way but would just rather take care of the bookkeeping and clerical type junk myself and then pay an attorney by the hour for the special stuff. Would that be wise?

    -Slim
     
  9. DrStranglove

    DrStranglove FChat Assassin
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Oct 31, 2003
    25,539
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    DrS
    I am doing it now, or rather, just finished doing it. I'll tell you about it later when I have more time.

    Bottom line, you do not but I would.



    DrS
     

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