Fees and Costs
Top-tier legal advice does not have to cost top-shelf prices. Our size, flexible billing options, and commitment to building long-term client relationships means our services are affordable and accessible. Additionally, since no two clients or legal issues are alike, we offer several different types of fee arrangements and payment methods.
There should never be any surprises when it comes to fees. That is why we always discuss our fee arrangement up front and before doing any work on your matter. The fee arrangement for a particular matter will vary from matter to matter and client to client, and depends largely on the type of representation required. The following are some of the more common fee arrangements:
The "Consultation Fee."
A confidential telephone or office consultation is a great way to obtain guidance on a specific legal issue, and to explore whether additional legal services or representation may be required. Also, a consultation with an experienced attorney early on will help you make more informed legal decisions and likely avoid unnecessary or costly legal fees down the road.
Some people procrastinate seeking the advice of an attorney because of the perceived costs and hassle. For those who want to discuss a legal issue with an attorney in a comfortable, no-pressure environment, Forethought Law can provide legal advice on a limited consultation basis for a reasonable consultation fee. At the consultation, we will discuss your legal situation, review any relevant documents, explain your legal options and potential hurdles, and explore reasonably likely outcomes and costs. If you decide to retain Forethought Law, the consultation fee will be applied toward your first bill.
The "Flat Fee."
In some situations, we are able to perform specified legal services for a simple fixed or flat fee. In this way, you know exactly how much your bill we be for the included services. Forethought Law performs most of its estate planning services on a flat fee basis, with the flat fee for a comprehensive estate plan typically in the range of $2,000 to $2,500. At the end of your initial consultation, after we have had an opportunity to review your personal circumstances and discuss your goals, we will provide you with the exact amount of the fee.
The "Hourly Fee."
Perhaps the most common type of fee arrangement is the hourly fee arrangement. Here, the client is charged for the amount of time that the attorney spends working on the client's matter. An attorney's hourly rate should fairly reflect the attorney's level of skill and experience. Because of our competitive hourly rates, efficient workflow processes, and implementation of time-saving technology, Forethought Law is a market leader in providing both superior legal services and reasonable fees.
The "Retainer" and the "Replenishing Retainer" Requirement.
Sometimes a law firm requires the client to provide an advanced deposit or retainer of some kind. The purpose of a retainer is to ensure that funds will be available to compensate the firm for its fees and reimburse the firm for any costs it advances on behalf of the client. All advanced retainers are held in a special Client Trust Account until earned and any unused funds are returned to the client at the conclusion of the representation. For litigation and ongoing representation, a client may be asked to maintain a certain balance at all times, and replenish it whenever it dips below an agreed-upon amount.
The "Contingent Fee."
The contingent fee arrangement is one in which the attorney's fee is calculated as a percentage of any monetary recovery obtained for the client. In a contingent fee arrangement, both the attorney and the client share equally in the risk and the reward, and there is no attorney fee due until the conclusion of the matter. Usually, a client will be responsible for the firm's out-of-pocket expenses related to the client's matter, such as court filing fees, fed-ex delivery, substantial copying projects, deposition transcript costs, sheriff or constable fees, etc. In the context of Trusts & Estates, it is not often that an attorney agrees to a contingent fee arrangement, except perhaps when representing a beneficiary in a will or trust contest. In order to determine if you matter is appropriate for a contingency fee arrangement, please contact us to schedule a consultation.