My mom hired an elder car lawyer right after my dad's 3rd stroke when she was told he was now a quadriplegic and bed ridden. She wanted help assuming she would need to apply for Medicaid and be made legal POA. She paid the lawyer $8,000 up front, which was the full fee for both services. Since then, all the work has been on my mom. She's been spending hours obtaining documents, going to the court house for documents, filling out piles of papers for the lawyer and spending money sending the lawyer piles of documents certified mail. Seems like the lawyer has done nothing except call my mom and ask for more documents. The POA portion of this has been completed, but my mom decided to bring my dad home and take care of him herself since there were #1) no nursing home beds available and #2) selling her house to qualify for Medicaid was not possible. So the Medicaid part of this is no longer needed. She would like to get a refund from the lawyer for Medicaid services not rendered. The lawyer has not done much on that front anyway except ask my mom for documents and sit on there tail waiting for it. Can my mom reasonably expect to be refunded part of her $8,000?? Thanks.
Attorneys bill at a hourly rate, depending on location one could charge $250 per hour or up to $750 per hour. Some legal matters can be handled by the Attorney's para-legals at a lesser cost per hour. Or the Attorney could bill at a fixed rate for services rendered, such as doing a Will, Trust, etc.
One does save a lot of money by doing the leg work getting papers in order, etc. Otherwise, the Attorney or Para-legal the clock starts clicking as soon as the file is opened and the Attorney or Para-legal leaves the building to do the same paper work that you could do. They have to charge for being away from the office, plus mileage in some cases.
Thus, as others above had mentioned, ask for a break-down of cost.
If your mother didn't know about not needing to sell her home I would say her attorney didn't give her very much information. Perhaps she wasn't able to retain what he said.
I think I would write him a letter and send it certified requesting a refund. He might charge her an hourly fee. If he didn't respond appropriately you could contact the state bar association and ask them for help. Then there is also the better business bureau but like Sunnygirl said, have her look at her contract first if she has one. It might be that you end up needing
the attorneys help after-all as your parents are both still living although that seems like a hefty fee to begin with. In other words you might ask him for an accounting of your mothers retainer. She may have a credit balance on his books?