Fees & Retainers
Most matters handled by Bolander Law Group are billed by hours actually spent by our office staff. Some matters are on a flat-fee basis, including, but not limited to, most estate plans and business formations. BLG’s hourly rates are very competitive with attorneys in the San Diego community with similar qualifications and experience and are are significantly lower than larger firms.
Excepting matters such as Flat Fee engagement, Probate, Conservatorships and Guardianships, discussed below, we require an advanced retainer. Matters billed on a hourly basis require retainers. These matters include, but are not limited to Trust Administration, representation of beneficiaries or heirs in trust and probate matter, adoptions, trust and probate litigation. A retainer is an advance deposit which is held in a trust account as security for fees. The deposit is then drawn upon to pay invoice balance at the conclusion of each billing period. Once the retainer has been depleted, it must be replenished by the client to maintain it at a level agreed upon by BLG and the client at the initiation of services. Should the retainer be depleted and not replenished within fifteen (15) days, BLG will stop work on your matter until the retainer has been replenished. If, after the fifteen (15) day period, the trust account has not been replenished and it becomes apparent that the client does not intend to replenish the trust account, BLG will withdraw from representation of the client.
BLG provides some services on a flat fee basis. These services include, but are not limited to Estate Planning, deed preparation, adoptions and other document preparation. If you engage with BLG on a flat fee matter, the entire amount will be earned, due and payable upon retaining the firm. Occasionally, BLG will allow a flat fee matter to be paid in installments. Whether an installment agreement for payment of the flat fee matter will be used is in the sole discretion of the owner and managing attorney, Lori Bolander. When an installment agreement is agreed to, the client will be required to a portion of the flat fee in advance.
Probate: Attorneys’ fees for probates are set by California law.
The current rates are as follows:
4% of the first $100k
3% of the next $100k
2% of the next $800k
1% of the next $9,000,000
½ % of the next $15 million
In some cases, the probate estate requires work by the attorney that is not considered part of the statutory fee and the Court allows extraordinary fees to be paid to the attorney at the attorney’s hourly rate. The extraordinary compensation is in addition to the statutory fee. In a probate matter, attorneys’ fees are paid at the conclusion of the matter and must be approved by the court. Therefore, no retainer for fees is required in a probate matter. However, a retainer for costs is required.
Like Probate, Attorneys’ fees in Conservatorships and Guardianships cannot be paid without Court approval from the Conservatee or Ward’s estate. If the matter is litigious (challenged or opposed), BLG may require a retainer and will charge on an hourly basis for services. However, this retainer and these fees CANNOT be paid from the Conservatee or Ward’s estate and must be paid from the client’s personal funds.
ESTATE PLANNING FEE SCHEDULE:
Complete Estate Plans:
Complete Estate Plans include preparation and execution of Trust, Pour-Over Will(s), Power(s)
of Attorney, Advanced Health Care Directive(s), Certification of Trust and one (1) Deed, transferring real estate into your Trust. All meetings and correspondence between attorney and client(s) are included in the flat rate.
COMPLETE ESTATE PLAN:
Single Estate Plan (basic): $1,650.00
Marital Estate Plan (basic): $2,100.00
Deeds transferring real estate (in addition to your home): $200.00 each
Additional Provisions contributing to complexity: $200.00 per provision
Pet Trust – Buy-Out/First Right of Refusal Provision for Real Estate – Complex Distribution – Complex Terms for Subtrusts – Conditional Gifts – S Corp Provisions – Practice Administrator/Special Trustee Appointment – Special Needs Trusts
INDIVIDUAL DOCUMENTS & REVISIONS TO EXISTING PLANS:
Stand-alone Will: $350.00
Stand-alone Will with Testamentary Trust: $500.00
Advanced Health Care Directive: $200.00
Durable Power of Attorney: $175.00
Trust Amendment: $300.00 per provision amended
Restatement of Trust: $950.00
Codicil to Will: $200.00
Codicil to Will with Testamentary Trust: $350.00
Certification of Trust (Attorney prepared): $150.00
ADDITIONAL FEES (not included in flat fee):
Recording Fees: Set by County Recorder
Attorney Travel Fee: $300.00 per estate plan
IRREVOCABLE TRUSTS/ILITS/COMPLEX ESTATE PLANNING:
Vary according to complexity and may be charged on an hourly basis, in the attorney’s discretion.
ADOPTION FEE SCHEDULE:
Independent Adoption: $5,000.00
Stepparent Adoption: $2,500.00
Domestic Partner Adoption: $2,500.00
Adult Adoption: $1,500.00
Matters requiring additional services, such as a petition to terminate parental rights, will be charged separately at the attorneys’ hourly rate and will require a retainer and are in addition to the flat rate fee.
A contingent fee is one which is computed as a percentage of the recovery the client receives in a litigation matter. Generally, in contingent fee arrangements, the client does not pay the attorney anything, unless a the litigation is successful and/or the client recovers in the matter. Contingent fee arrangements are common in personal injury and medical malpractice cases, which matters BLG does not accept. It is not common for a contingent fee to be charged in trust and estate litigation. As a general rule, BLG does not accept contingent fee cases. However, BLG may accept contingent fee matters if (1) the claim is in excess of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), (2) in the attorney’s opinion, there is a reasonable chance of success on the claim and (3) client is able to give attorney a retainer for costs for the matter.
In addition to fees, clients are billed for expenses or costs. Clients are billed for the actual costs of the expense. Expenses and costs include both out of pocket expenses (filing fees, process servers, court reporters) and internal costs (photocopies, postage). BLG charges $0.10 for per page for photocopying and printing. BLG does not charge for long distance phone, facsimiles or imaging.