Legal Question in Legal Ethics in New Jersey

My Dad lived in New Jersey at a nursing home where Covid-19 resulted in him passing on April 17th. We hired a elder care attorney in January on my Dad's behalf to help us file for Medicaid benefits as his assets would be depleted by May 1st. We signed a retainer agreement which stated "the client has, with the delivery of this agreement, paid the attorney an initial retainer in the amount of $5,000. This amount is NONREFUNDABLE." His hourly rate was also discussed in the agreement to be $375/hr and the rate for his paralegal was $150/hr. plus additional fees for filing, copies etc. Our last phone conversation on April 1st prior to my Dad getting sick with the virus he informed me that his billable time added up to $2,500 plus the 1/2 hr. phone consult we had that day. My question: is the attorney obligated to refund the remainder of the deposit if my Dad's passing away resulted in him never having to proceed with the filing? I told his secretary on the day he died that his services would no longer be needed. I have since E-mailed him twice and have not heard back eventhough his secretary said he would be calling me. I get the feeling he's avoiding me.

Bill I.

Asked on 4/22/20, 1:52 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jef Henninger, Esq Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq.

I would need more information. There's not a lot of clear answers in law which is why there are so many lawyers. I don't charge for consultations so call me at 1-855-9-JEFLAW to discuss.

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Answered on 4/23/20, 7:07 am

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