Office Policies (FAQ)

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Appointments: Length

Out of respect for each client, we work hard to keep your appointments within the length of time scheduled. Should we be close to the end of our scheduled time yet have more to discuss, you may choose to extend the appointment if our schedule allows in 15 minute blocks. The additional time will be billed at your attorney's regular hourly rate.

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Appointments: Scheduling

Cancellations: please call as soon as you are aware you need to cancel your appointment. Please read our cancellation policy for more information.

Late arrival: clients who arrive late will have the remainder of their appointment time available to them and if the schedule allows may reserve additional time at the attorney's regular hourly rate.

Promptness: The attorney attempts to arrive promptly for your appointment, however should the attorney need to reschedule, we will do so as soon as your and our schedules allow with no penalty to you. If the attorney begins the appointment late, you will have the option of using your entire allotted length of time even though it extends beyond the scheduled period, paying only for the amount of time used, or rescheduling with no penalty.

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Cancellation Policy

Drake Law has no physical office and instead we make house/office calls.

We schedule only one client appointment per day so that we have sufficient time to meet with clients and still get the other work done (you know, the writing of the legal documents). Your appointment precludes us from doing work for another person, so we request you let us know as soon as you can if you need to cancel or reschedule, preferably 2 business days in advance.

We understand emergencies and we have them as well. We are happy to reschedule and will do so without any penalty, though we reserve the right to require a nonrefundable deposit if you--on short notice--ask to reschedule more than one appointment. The deposit will be applied toward the cost of the appointment.

We don't charge for the time it takes to get to you for your appointment, we consider that as part of the cost of doing business and have priced our services accordingly. Should we arrive for your appointment and you are not available, you will need to pay a cancellation fee in order to reschedule.

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Consultations

Initial Consultations serve as introductory meetings. These appointments are limited to 15 minutes by phone or video conference and are at no charge so that without risk, you and we can determine whether we are able to help you. We are not always the right attorney for you and may decline to assist you for a variety of reasons including a conflict of interest (due to other clients) or because your needs are not services that we provide.

Planning meetings are conducted most often in person or by video conference and are billed at the attorney's regular hourly rate. These meetings are a time where you and the attorney are gathering detailed information regarding your matter and the first stages of work occur.

The planning meeting fee is applied to the total cost of services for estate planning clients once you return your signed engagement agreement.

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Payment Schedules

We recognize that legal expenses are often high. The following payment policies are designed to help you pay the cost of the work.

All clients must put down a deposit, which varies according to the type of work you need. All deposits are held in trust until we earn the fee. Fees are considered earned when the first draft is done and given to you for review or if hourly, the time is spent on your work.

Estate plans may pay in the following way:

  • Pay in full at the beginning before work begins.
  • 1/2 of the total cost at the beginning before work begins; 1/2 when we sign your documents.
  • 1/3 of the total cost at the beginning; 1/3 15 days after the first payment at which point you will receive your first drafts of your documents. Final 1/3 on the day we sign your documents. A credit card authorization is required for this option.

Probate clients must provide a $2,500 security deposit. The first $1,000 will be applied to the initial costs and fees. The remaining $1,500 will be held in your trust account as a security deposit and you will be billed monthly for work done. This may mean that you pay the deposit and then receive a bill for the first month's work that is about the same amount. The security deposit is held in trust and applied to your final expenses. Any excess amount is refunded to you at the completion of your work when you pick up your file.

Probate Matters

  1. Muniment of Title: the flat fee for the standard muniment of title proceeding is $2,500 plus court costs and filing fees. The first $1,500 is due before work begins and the remaining amount is due before the probate court hearing.
    1. The standard muniment proceeding involves consultation, filing the application, preparation of documents used during the hearing, the hearing admitting the will to probate, and assisting you in transferring the title to the properties and accounts after. When the court requires, it also includes the affidavit of fulfillment
    2. Court filing fees and fees for records are reimbursable expenses. The firm will pay the fees and invoice you for the amount paid, due per the terms of the invoice.
  2. Small Estate Affidavit: the standard small estate affidavit is about $1,500 plus court costs and filing fees, and is tracked on an hourly basis. A deposit of $1000 is due when work begins and the remainder before we file your application with the court.
  3. The standard small estate affidavit includes consultation and gathering of family history, and preparation and filing of the application. Should a hearing be required, the time for the hearing is billed at your attorney's standard hourly rate.
  4. Court costs and filing fees vary for each county. You will be invoiced for estimated filing fees and the amount is due before the affidavit is filed.

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Rates

Lindsey S. Drake         $325 per hour
Emergency/after hours: $400 per hour*

Support Staff                $100-150 per hour
Rush fees                       30% increase on flat fee

Expenses

Filing fees                      Cost to firm
Other Expenses            Cost to firm

*Attorneys and staff have flexible schedules and may choose to work at any time during a day rather than on a set schedule. Emergency or after hours’ work is performed at your request and not based on the attorney’s chosen time. We may use this increased rate where you ask us to complete work faster than is typical; we will only work at the increased rate after giving you advance notice.

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