Contingency fees are a vital part of the legal system because they allow people of limited means who have a legal claim to still hire an attorney, even if they do not have a lot of money up front. Contingency fees are used in many different types of cases. Most commonly known are personal injury cases, but attorneys can also collect a contingency fee for cases such as worker’s compensation, disability or sexual harassment as well. Many people wonder when they are dealing with an estate whether or not their Westchester estate attorney is allowed to be paid on a contingency fee basis. The answer is that they are.
For legal cases, attorneys can be paid in a few different ways. One is a flat rate, where the attorney takes a specific amount that is meant to encompass the entire amount of the legal fees in that case. This is not really the most popular way of charging for legal fees for estate cases because it does not take into consideration how much work may be put into the case, especially if there are unexpected complications. Flat rate cases are much more commonly seen in transactional work, such as consumer bankruptcy cases or incorporating a business.
Hourly rates are one of the most common forms of payment for legal cases and are quite common in probate cases. That would involve the client and the attorney agreeing on a specific amount to be charged per hour that the attorney works on the case. Usually in an hourly case, a retainer is paid which is meant to act as security for a certain number of hours of the attorney’s work. When that retainer runs out, the client would be sent invoices periodically to pay any additional fees. An hourly rate is pretty common in probate cases when the executor is being represented.
Finally, probate lawyers are allowed to take a contingency fee of up to one-third in estate cases. This would normally be seen in cases where someone is contesting a will but does not have the funds to pay an hourly rate, similar to in personal injury cases.
Westchester estate attorneys are still taking a risk with a contingency fee case. If they do not end up winning that case, they could end up collecting no fee at all, even though they put many hours in to that estate case. Because of this, contingency fees may not be available in every case relating to an estate.
In estate practice, contingency fees are usually limited to some types of will contests. To see whether or not your estate case can be taken on contingency, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich, PLLC at (914) 293-2043.