Citrus Heights, CA asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: Can I change a lawyer who is working on a living trust He has been paid one half of the fee, and the other half is due

when the completed documents are signed. I am not happy with the services. I leave messages that are not responded to and I have questions that I must reasearch on my own. Thank you

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2 Lawyer Answers
David L. Crockett
David L. Crockett
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I appreciate your concern as you are entitled to professional service. If there is a written fee agreement with the lawyer, you may be obligated under that agreement to continue working with him to get the trust finished. You should make all of your requests to him in the form of written letters that you keep copies of the letters and ask in each letter that he provide you with a written answer to each question within a reasonable time deadline. Doing that should keep this on track to get the job done. If the lawyer does not reasonably respond to your letters then you may have a right to terminate his services. Again, that would depend upon the wording of the agreement with the attorney.

From the attorney's point of view, if this is a fixed fee living trust assignment, there may be limits to what time the attorney can afford to spend on your trust preparation. In some sense you get what you pay for in this area. Some people believe that because living trusts can be pulled off the internet for low cost that they can pay a similar low cost fee to a lawyer and get an elaborate trust with lots of details and special provisions. Trusts come in all shapes and sizes so to speak but there are practical limitations as to what a lawyer can do for a fixed fee.

I hope this gives you some direction.

David L. Crockett, attorney/CPA/Broker/Martindale Hubble AV preeminent rating.

Genene N. Dunn
Genene N. Dunn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Tustin, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It really depends on your agreement with the attorney. I would ask for a status of the drafted documents first. If they have already been drafted and you are in the process of reviewing and asking questions on the drafted documents then most likely you are not going to be able to get out of it easily, but again it depends on what your agreement says. You do have the right to use any attorney you want though, the question seems to be asking more about whether you are entitled to a refund or avoid paying the other half. And that all depends on your agreement with the attorney. If you don't care about the money then you can go do another attorney at any time.

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