Cost of Probate Lawyer in Texas

Probate Lawyers' Fees and Billing
A Valid Texas Will Avoids Probate Court & Costly Administrator Fees

How much will it cost to hire a lawyer to handle your probate case? The answer varies greatly, but it will probably depend more on where you happen to be filing the probate case than on how complicated the legal work is.

You can hire a lawyer to handle the whole probate case or just help you do it. (See "Working With a Probate Lawyer.") Either way, keep in mind that as executor, you don’t pay the probate lawyer’s fee from your own pocket. You can use estate assets to pay the bill, before inheritors get anything.

Kinds of Fee Arrangements

Lawyers usually use one of three methods to charge for probate work: by the hour, a flat fee, or a percentage of the value of the estate assets. Your lawyer may let you pick how you pay—for example, $250/hour or a $1, 500 flat fee for handling a routine probate case.

Hourly Billing

Many probate lawyers bill clients by the hour. The hourly rate will depend on how much experience and training the lawyer has, where you live, and whether the lawyer practices in a big law firm or a small one. Small town rates may be as low as $150/hour; in a city, a rate of less than $200/hour would be unusual. Big firms generally charge higher rates than sole practitioners or small firms, unless a small firm is made up solely of hot-shot specialists.

A lawyer who does nothing but estate planning and probate will likely charge a higher hourly rate than a general practitioner. The advantage to you is that a specialist should be more efficient. Someone who has steered many probates through the local court has probably learned all the local rules and how to prepare and file documents the way the court likes them.

If your attorney employs less experienced lawyers (associates) and legal assistants (paralegals), their time should be billed at a lower hourly rate. This is very common in firms that do probate work; legal assistants often draw up the routine paperwork.

Many lawyers bill in minimum increments of six minutes (one-tenth of an hour). So, if your lawyer (or a legal assistant) spends two minutes on a phone call on behalf of the estate, you’ll be billed for six minutes.


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