Greenfield, IN asked in Consumer Law and Estate Planning for Indiana

Q: Attorney sent an unexpected & backdated invoice 5 months after I opted not to work with him. Do I pay it?

During a 30-min consult last January, atty quoted a flat $80 to write a will. It all seemed fairly straightforward, until he wanted to write himself into my will "in the event that my heir and I die at the same time." At the end of the meeting, he tried to close the deal: I told him I'd think about it and get back to him. He never mentioned a consultation fee, nor did he try to charge me for anything before I left.

A few days later, I called to decline the will.

In March, his asst. calls to say my will is ready. I explained that I had canceled the will in January. She got mad, but said she'd "mark it down."

Now it's mid-May, and I've just rec'd a $225 invoice for a "consultation fee." It's backdated DUE the day of the Jan. consult. The notes say if I buy the will they'll cancel the invoice.

The question is: do I pay the invoice or will payment constitute some kind of atty/client relationship? I don't want to work with this atty, so how do I extricate myself from him?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: If everything you say is true, you should file a complaint with the State Bar of Indiana. You can find their phone number online. It is an ethical violation for an attorney write himself into the will of a person for whom he is not a natural heir. It might also be an ethical violation not to disclose a consultation fee in advance. (I am not sure because I am not an Indiana attorney.)

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.