We continue to offer initial visits by phone or by Zoom. We have returned to in-office appointments for certain planning and signing appointments for current clients and masks are optional.
We use flat fee pricing structures in all aspects of the work we do except for a dependent administration procedure (the courts require hourly invoicing).
Why flat fees?
Hourly billing means you don’t know what to expect when you receive your invoice each month. Instead of dreading the email from the lawyer, we use flat fees so that you are certain of the cost at the outset. Flat fees are based on the value of the service rather than the time spent on the work. We have found that not only do our clients feel more relaxed knowing the scope of the work, we are also more relaxed about taking the time necessary to do accurate work. We don’t worry about a timer running in the background and it frees our minds to do the appropriate research on each client’s case.
Our value pricing of work is determined by a reasonable fee structure based on the code of conduct governing lawyers. The fee is based on a time calculation of how much time it takes for a reasonable attorney to complete a task and the value the attorney brings to the matter.
When filling out your planning forms, you’ll be asked to name agents, an executor, a guardian, and possibly a trustee for a minor child. Read on to learn more about each role and how to pick your people.
Durable Power of Attorney: Gives the person named broad power and authority to manage your property. This should be someone you trust completely to make your financial decisions for you. This person is answerable only to you and to a court-appointed guardian of you. This agent does not have the right to override your decisions but only works on your behalf.
Medical Power of Attorney: Gives the person named the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated and unable to make the decisions yourself. Your agent is expected to make decisions as you would have.
Guardian (of self): Gives the person named authority to manage your assets and be in charge of your personal well-being should you ever need a court appointed guardian. Replaces the agents under the power of attorney, court may restrict your rights and return you to the same status as a minor child.
Example choice hierarchy: 1. Spouse, 2. Adult Child or Sibling, 3. Sibling or Parent
For each role, please name a primary, an alternate and (optionally) a third person to serve as your agent.
Your will outlines who you wish to receive your property, how they receive it, and who is in charge.
Executor: given the responsibility of securing your property after your death, submitting your will to court, and processing your assets to give them to your beneficiaries. This is a limited role and is over once all property is distributed.
Beneficiary: the person you name to inherit from you. May be any person you choose or an organization. Examples are spouse, children, heirs, or charities.
Heirs: your closest blood relatives, both descendants and ascendants (children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, etc.). The order in which an heir would inherit is set by Texas law.
Every will contains a trust to ensure that property inherited by a minor child has a trustee to care for it until the child reaches the age of majority. We will talk more in detail about the kind of trust to be used, whether it will be for people under age 25 or if it will extend their lifetimes, but use this space to think about who, besides your spouse or the other parent of the children, might be good as trustee.
Guardian of Child: should no parent survive, this person is appointed by the court to care for the body of your minor child. Should there be no trustee or if property is left to a minor child without a trust, the court may appoint a guardian of the child’s estate to manage property until the child reaches the age of majority.
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, we will need to schedule another appointment.
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.
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.
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. Appointments cancelled within 24 hours will incur an $80 cancellation fee.
We understand emergencies and we have them as well. Please contact the office if you need to reschedule due to an emergency.
Should we arrive for your appointment and you are not available, there will be an $80 cancellation fee.
Initial Consultations serve as introductory meetings. These appointments are limited to 30 minutes by phone so that 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 a flat fee. 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 once you return your signed engagement agreement.
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 when a milestone is reached.
Estate plans may pay in the following way:
Probate clients must provide a minimum $3,500 security deposit. This may vary depending on your matter.
All matters have access to Client Credit through LawPay. You may read more here by choosing “Pay Later”
Lindsey S. Drake $350 per hour
Emergency/after hours: $450 per hour*
Support Staff $150 per hour
Rush fees 30% increase on flat fee
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.