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Having lawyer probate moms VA checking account. Mom died in May. Account paid moms headstone dateplate plus care help. Small balance remaining. Has to go through probate. Lawyer is using $ balance at time of death, rather than what’s left after expenses. Is this right? How do you fight a lawyer, and how do I pay her 30% if the moneys not there?

Has this lawyer sent you an itemised statement of how she sees it?

Has she stated how many chargeable hours the bill includes?

No other assets besides the cash?

You don't have to pay your sister half of the estate. You pay your sister half of the net balance after everything else. Which may be half of bugger all but at least it doesn't leave you actually out of pocket.

What's making me crosser than anything else, even more than the exorbitant fee, is that you're having to pay this wretched woman to give you an even bigger headache than you had in the first place.

Nevertheless, "the labourer is worthy of his hire..."

The care home fees were a debt. The estate can't have been said to include money that already belonged to somebody else.

There may be regulations about whether or not funeral expenses can be deducted.

Have you already queried her charges with her?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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30% or hourly.
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Reply to Ihave1now
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Thank you all for your response. I knew if I posted here someone would listen. Ok. I’m in Ohio. VA custodial acct. $3000 DOP. $475 cemetery $1050. Caregiving. $$15 utility. Balance $1667. I threw in 5 bucks cuz I didn’t want acct to be inactive. Does she get 30% of 3K or 1600? I also have a sister that gets half. I am exec. So I have to handle this otherwise I’d just leave it.
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Reply to Ihave1now
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As the level of trust with this lawyer is low, please check independently if probate is necessary at all. It will be if there is real estate, shares or a very large bank account, but it may not be required if a lower simple bank account is all there is.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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worriedinCali Nov 9, 2018
Doesn’t matter if it’s very large bank account. She’s having the bank account itsself probated which means there is POD beneficiary so probate is necessary.
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30% of the estate???????????? The lawyer is claiming a fee of 30% of the estate, pro rata, like that?

Find another lawyer.

I then wondered if maybe this is normal in the USA. The following is for California and I recognise that things may be different in your state, but just for comparison:

"California Probate Code § 10810 sets the maximum fees that attorneys and personal representatives (i.e. executors, administrators, etc.) can charge for a probate. Higher fees can be ordered by a court in special circumstances and for more complicated cases. The fees are four percent of the first $100,000 of the estate, three percent of the next $100,000, two percent of the next $800,000, one percent of the next $9,000,000, and one-half percent of the next $15,000,000. For an estate larger than $25,000,000, the court will determine the fee for the amount that is greater than $25,000,000."

So if that's right - if your lawyer plans to charge you 30% of your mother's estate - before or after funeral costs is less the issue than oh BOY is she ripping you off.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Lawyer is using that balance for what? to calculate her fee, or to declare the amount of the estate for probate?

In my state, the amount left at death gets entered into probate, then the payments are made in a fixed order. Cost of funeral and final illness are paid first. I think the estate attorney is next. There's also a dollar ceiling for the legal fee that depends on the value of the estate, to avoid the situation you're asking about. Find out if your state has a similar rule, or ask the lawyer what happens if the remaining estate doesn't cover her fee.

Also make sure that your mother's account didn't have a beneficiary attached to it. My mother's bank account did, much to my surprise, and to my greater surprise, it was me. So the account didn't have to go through probate at all.
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Reply to CarlaCB
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