Accessible Location, Hours and Fees
The practice is conveniently located in the FMLS building complex, located half a mile south of the intersection at I-285 and Roswell Road, and just before you reach Glenridge Drive. As soon as you pull into the FMLS lot, the office is in Suite 103 on the right. Free parking is provided directly in front.
Appointments are available Monday through Friday during regular business hours, but appointments can also be made during weekday evenings, on Saturdays, and on Sunday afternoons, to accommodate busy families or urgent circumstances. In addition, when clients are fragile or uncomfortable with law office surroundings, consultations can be arranged in private homes, or at assisted living centers, hospitals, and hospice.
An initial consultation is offered to all new clients at no charge. Once the scope of the work required is determined, clients receive a written estimate of projected fees, based on the legal services requested. Typically, estate planning documents are quoted based on a flat fee. Sometimes, that flat fee is presented as a range, in the event that the client and the attorney discover that additional issues must be addressed during the estate planning process. Any changes in projected fees are also confirmed in writing.
If the work required is going to be billed at an hourly rate, say for a document review or for a Probate administration, the fee is typically $200.00 per hour. This is not a practical way to charge for estate planning, which can take 20-30 hours of attorney time for a client family, including a series of consultations and the preparation of the documents. That is why most clients are more comfortable with a flat fee.
Prospective clients often ask for a fee projection before the complimentary consultation. Without any details about family dynamics or finances, this is impossible to gauge. However, it is reasonable for folks to wonder what they might be getting themselves into. Unfortunately, the proliferation of online legal forms and office supply store kits has distorted client expectations about the requirements for preparing valid Wills and powers of attorney. If clients have “Googled” fill-in-the-blanks will forms for $29.99, they suffer sticker shock when they also research legal fees online and find a wide range, from “Simple Wills” (which everyone thinks is all they need) for $200 each, to frequently quoted ranges of $3,000-$5,000 and significantly higher, for the average married couple.
Our firm’s fees are more moderate, reflecting a solo, suburban practice which prides itself on a great deal of personal attention without expensive trimmings. However, clients who should establish guardianships for their children, settle the disposition of their assets through simple trusts, receive a fundamental understanding of tax planning, and need help navigating the complexities of modern-day financial and medical legalities are making an investment in getting their increasingly complex affairs in order.
When asked during community talks about the cost of a “routine estate plan,” i.e., a Will, a healthcare directive, and a financial power of attorney, Kathy often kids listeners using a consumer comparison: “Clients should expect to invest as they would for a truly essential, major household appliance. For those of us who have needed to replace a refrigerator lately, we know that the larger and more highly functional model costs more than the basic upright we plan to park in the garage for overflow. If we must have the stainless steel and the filtered water in the door, we’re going to expect the $1,500 price tag!” Estate planning attorneys who view their practice area as a privilege do not add on “bells and whistles” to run up fees. Their advice, and their documents, reflect the stated needs of the generation sitting at the table with them-- and the needs of the future family members who will rely on how carefully that attorney listened.
Fees can be paid in installments, by arrangement. Clients should expect to pay a retainer at the time services are engaged. Balances are due when documents are signed, or when the consultation ends. An hourly rate is also available for document review and probate and estate administration services. The firm accepts Visa, Master Charge, American Express and Discover.