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. 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."
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 are not yet ready to retain an attorney on an ongoing basis, this is a great way to obtain guidance on a specific legal issue. 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.
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 $1,500 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 work-flow processes, and implementation of time-saving technology, Forethought Law is a market leader in providing both superior legal services and reasonable fees.
The "Advance Deposit" and the "Replenishing Trust Account" Requirement.
Often a law firm requires the client to provide an advance deposit (commonly referred to as a "retainer"). The purpose of advance deposit is to ensure that funds will be available to compensate the law firm for its fees and reimburse the law firm for any costs it advances on behalf of the client. All advance deposits are held in a special Client Trust Account until earned, and any unused funds must be 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 (referred to as a "replenishing trust account").
The "Contingent Fee."
A contingent fee arrangement is one in which the attorney's fee, or a portion of it, 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 the risk and reward of the litigation, and there is no attorney fee due until the successful conclusion of the matter. Sometimes, 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 Litigation, very few law firms accept clients on a contingency basis. Forethought Law, though, is happy to discuss representation on a contingency fee basis and provides free consultations for this purpose.