Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New York

What is rate a lawyer in ny state can charge to handle a will of deceased person?

Asked on 8/16/10, 12:11 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Arnold Nager Arnold H. Nager, Esquire

The customary rate is 3% of the value of the property passing by probate.

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Answered on 8/21/10, 5:37 pm

Walter LeVine Walter D. LeVine, Esq.

In the absence of an agreement between the lawyer and you, the lawyer is entitled to receive a reasonable legal fee determined by the number of hours spent on the work, the level of difficulty of that work, the amount of the estate, the lawyer's experience, and the kinds and sizes of estates handled in the past, to list some of the criteria. In New York, there is no mandatory legal fee schedule to be followed. Some lawyers charge by the hour. Some get a fixed percentage (your case). Some charge based on what an executor's fee would be; that is, 5% of the first $100,000 of estate value, 4% of the next $200,000, 3% of the next $700,000, and so on according to the commissions schedule.

It is not too late to negotiate the fee. Tell the lawyer that you think the fee is too high considering what was done and the size of the estate and ask him/her to consider accepting a lower fee. You have nothing to lose by doing that.

Work on non-probate assets (such as a new Deed from joint tenants to the survivor or assisting an insurance or retirement plan beneficiary get their payout) may add some cost.

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Answered on 8/23/10, 12:03 pm

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