This is a question we get often and it’s not easy to answer, but I’ll try.
Succession costs vary immensely depending on the complexity of the situation and what type of legal representation is involved. You will encounter a number of fees when filing a succession in Louisiana including, but not limited to: attorney fees, court filing fees, real estate fees, accounting fees and fees for the executor of the estate. It’s difficult to assess these fees until we hear your particular story as they vary widely from case to case.
There are different ways that attorneys get paid to handle Louisiana successions.
First, you have traditional payment arrangements that go by the attorney’s hourly rate. This is the way the legal business has handled legal fees since the beginning. Many clients cannot afford to hire an attorney this way because the legal fees are unknown with hourly billing. It’s hard to tell up front how much you will end up paying your attorney because he/she doesn’t know what they will encounter. You pay for every phone call, email, letter to opposing attorney, legal advice and discussions. This can add up! Clients get gun shy about calling their own attorney to ask questions out of fear of being charged the hourly rate.
Louisiana does not have a specific fee schedule set by lawmakers. Law firms are open to charge basically any way they choose, including percentage based. A small percentage of firms charge for successions based on the amount of assets in the estate. These fee arrangements are rare and I would recommend using caution if you ever encounter one.
The other and arguably best option for clients is “flat rate” billing. This is a more economical way to pay for attorney services. We use this often at the Andries Law Firm because it benefits our clients. We charge you a one-time fee to handle the succession from beginning to end. That means we answer your phone calls, emails and set up appointments any time you have questions or need to discuss the legal matter at hand without charging you additional hourly rates.
With that being said, there are different amounts charged even with a flat rate agreement. If all heirs agree and the property is easy to find; you could be looking at a rate of $1,250-$3,500 plus court costs. Court costs for Louisiana successions can range from $250 to $500 depending on parish. If any issues are apparent or litigation is necessary, the cost could easily go higher.
The best way to get an estimate on legal fees for a succession is to schedule an appointment with our attorney at (318) 229-1608 or email Jerome@AndriesLawFirm.com.