Probate is a process for dealing with the estate (the debts and assets) left when someone dies. A contingent probate means the lawyer is willing to receive a portion of the estate in payment for completing the process.
How much does a contingent probate cost?
Most probate lawyers with significant experience in contested probate cases (cases where everyone is fighting) will end up charging many hours to complete a probate. They cannot predict how long a case will take nor how many hours will be worked on the case. In other words, it could cost a lot.
This law firm, Jac Schuster PLLC, has a lot of experience securing a positive outcome in probate cases, even contested probate cases.
Most lawyers, if you can find them, will charge up to 50% of the value of the estate.
We charge typically as low as 25%, but like other attorneys, up to 50% in very high risk cases. With risk that drives us to consider over 50%, it would be highly unlikely that we would take the case.
The amount depends on the risk of recovery. If there is no risk, then we may go that low. If the risk is high, then the percentage will be higher. If we see that the expenses to recover are going to be high, we will need a higher percentage.
Also, we almost always require that basic costs are covered up front. From experience, we have learned that success requires your serious attention, and therefore if you provide some investment, you are a serious client for us, and our likelihood of winning goes up. So, usually, some cash is required to start the case, expect a minimum of $750 to start in addition to the percentage above. We will know how much after we look at your case. All court costs will be your responsibility.
Why contingent probate?
A contingent probate makes sense for you in many scenarios:
You have no money to pay a lawyer for a long battle up front
It is worth the risk since you are not risking a bunch of legal fees with no result
A large estate is on the line, and you need the best lawyers, those used to big battles
The estate may be small, and even though there is no battle, it will take a lot of legal work to distribute, and contingent probate is simply easier
What makes the contingent probate lawyer want to take the case? What is the ideal contingent probate lawyer’s case?
We seldom take a contingent probate case under $500,000, Generally, we will be interested if it is $750,000 to $1 million or more in net assets.
However, we are human, and by that, a case in which there is a needed dose of justice. That gets the lawyer’s blood boiling. So combine a situation with wrongdoing, and a chance for the lawyer to make a good living is why they went to law school