How much is the lawyers fee to settle an estate?

Asker965 asked...

If an estate is valued at $141,000, how much is the lawyers fee to settle the estate?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Lawyers generally charge for probate work, including settling an estate, in one of three ways: an hourly fee, a lump sum for the whole job, or in some states, by a percentage of the estate's value.

Hourly rates commonly run from $150 to $250--but they differ by locale. They're generally higher in urban areas, lower in smaller towns.

Flat fees for a typical probate are usually a few thousand dollars, but there may be more charges if complexities such as tax problems surface.

In a number of states--including Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, and Wyoming--lawyers have the option of charging a percentage of what the estate's value. Most other states allow lawyers to charge a "reasonable" legal fee.

Whatever the final charge, it should not come as a surprise to you. The best advice is to discuss legal fees openly before hiring any lawyer. Many states require lawyers to put their fees in writing--and it's a good idea to request such a writing, along with an itemized final bill, no mater where you live.