Written by: Attorney R. Jerome Andries
If you were to call every single succession lawyer in Louisiana and asked them how much they charge to file a succession, you would get a million different answers. Most wouldn’t even quote you on a succession because there are too many factors that go into pricing.
Here are a few questions lawyers will ask you before providing you with a quote for legal services:
- How large is the estate?
- Is the succession contested or uncontested?
- Was there a will?
- Are there any family members who would try to invalidate the will?
- Are all heirs in Louisiana?
- Where is movable and immovable property located?
- Is there a surviving spouse?
This is only a short list of questions you may encounter when gathering quotes for a Louisiana succession. Many factors go into pricing so it is difficult to get a precise quote. Most attorneys will want to sit down with you and look over the paperwork before agreeing on a price. This process can be quite exhausting, but you need to meet with a few attorneys and gather quotes and to ensure you can work with an attorney.
There are other fees you may encounter when filing a succession in Louisiana that includes court filing fees, executor fees, accounting fees, real estate fees and other miscellaneous fees besides attorney fees. It can be an expensive process, but one that must be done in many instances.
- Check out our Louisiana Succession Guide!
Flat Rate Fees Versus Hourly Rates For Louisiana Successions
There are many different ways attorneys get paid and succession attorneys are no different. Let’s discuss hourly billing since this has been common in the past. If you’ve hired an attorney before, chances are you paid their hourly fee. This legal fee can easily range from $175 on the low end up to $400 for a highly experienced attorney. You sign a contract and they begin working on your case. You get billed for every phone call, email, text message and meeting. You would have to be extremely precise with your questions and not contact your attorney often or the bill will easily grow exponentially. A large percentage of legal clients cannot afford to pay an attorney this way when the time required to finish a case is unknown. You could be surprised with a large bill at the end of the representation that you aren’t prepared to pay. Many clients are conditioned to not call their attorneys when they know they will be billed for every minute they speak to them.
Law firms are able to charge clients pretty much any way they desire as long as the client agrees to the terms and the fees are reasonable. But what’s a reasonable hourly rate?
The next way that Louisiana succession lawyers charge for services is percentage based. This is not extremely common, but it does exist. This is a fee arrangement where the law firm earns a percentage based on the amount of assets in the estate. Be cautious with this type of fee arrangement as you could end up paying much more than necessary.
Flat fee billing is probably the most beneficial option for clients because you know exactly what the legal representation will cost for your Louisiana succession. You pay a one-time fee up front for your attorney to represent you in the succession and you can call, text, email or meet with the attorney and it doesn’t cost extra. You can set appointments to discuss problems that may arise without shelling out more money in legal fees. Flat rate successions can save you a fortune because the attorney is more inclined to finish the work quickly since he/she will not make any additional income from the representation.
Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of how much a Louisiana succession costs. Most law firms will charge around $1,250 – $3,500 for a flat rate succession and that’s if all heirs are in agreeance, they’re local and the movable and immovable property is located in the same parish. If the succession is contested, meaning potential heirs are contesting the will or don’t agree to their share, then the succession could cost substantially more. Litigation is expensive and have the potential to drain the estate. Court costs for Louisiana successions range from $200 to $450 normally depending on which parish you file in.
If you are dealing with a small succession with little to no assets – you may be able to find an attorney that will file an affidavit of small succession for a lower flat rate. Small successions are relatively easy and won’t cost as much as a large succession with immovable property in various parishes. Many law firms charge in the range of $850 to $1,200 for an affidavit of small succession since there aren’t as many assets to track down and it doesn’t have to be presented to the Judge for signature.
Louisiana successions can be an expensive endeavor and it is important that you choose the right billing agreement before your attorney starts the paperwork. It could mean the difference between thousands of dollars that could go into your pocket as an heir. The best thing to do is to set a free consultation with a few attorneys to discuss the succession and to obtain a quote. Always sign a contract stating the price you will pay and what the representation covers. You want to make sure you get the best deal possible when hiring a Louisiana succession law firm and you want it in writing.
If you need help with a Succession in Louisiana, the Andries Law Firm, LLC is happy to help! We handle successions in every Parish in Louisiana.
Attorney R. Jerome Andries
This post is not to be considered legal advice. Speak with an attorney as this website does not give legal advice and in no way should be taken as legal advice.