In a Probate/Estate matter, the Executor/Administrator will be given a choice as to legal fees to be paid. A typical representation agreement required by the Rules of Court is the following:
AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES- PROBATE
THIS AGREEMENT, dated _______________________ is made
BETWEEN the Client _______________________
referred to as You
AND Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, PC referred to as the Law Firm
1. Deceased. The person who died is _______________
who formerly resided at ____________ and is referred to as the Deceased.
2. Estate of the Deceased. You have either been named as the executor in the Will of the Deceased or want to be appointed as the administrator of the estate of the Deceased who died without a Will. The executor or administrator is the person who collects the assets of the Deceased, pays the just debts of the Deceased and gives what is left to the family of the Deceased or to the beneficiaries named in the Will.
3. Legal Services To Be Provided. You agree that the Law Firm will provide legal services to you to assist you in performing your duties as executor or administrator of the estate. The legal work includes:
(a) reviewing and analyzing the Will or advising you as to the persons who will take the Deceased estate according to law;
(b) advising you what must be done;
(c) making arrangements for you to go to the Courthouse to be appointed executor or administrator of the estate;
(d) Preparation of mandatory Notice of Probate to Beneficiaries.
(e) fill out Inheritance Tax Forms or Inheritance Waivers
(f) preparation of mandatory Release and Refunding bond
(g) correspondence to persons receiving benefits from the estate.
Other services available:
Bring Will to Surrogate
Apply to Federal Tax ID #
Help executor Set up Estate Account at bank (pay all bills from estate account)
Notice of Probate to Beneficiaries
If charity, notice to Atty General
File notice of Probate with Surrogate
File first Federal and State Income Tax Return and Estate Tax if needed [CPA- ex Marc Kane]
Prepare Inheritance Tax Return and obtain Tax Waivers (Attorney will handle)
File waivers within 8 months upon receipt (Attorney will handle)
Prepare Informal Accounting
Prepare Release and Refunding Bond (Attorney will handle)
Obtain Child Support Judgment clearance (Attorney will handle)
Assist in sale of Real estate and other major assets
4. Legal Fees. At this time, it is impossible to tell exactly how much time and effort will be required of the Law Firm to properly represent you. If there is no litigation or other complications, which require an abnormal amount of work, the bill for legal expensed will be: (Check if applicable)
[ ] 5% percent of the gross probate estate. This includes the total value of the property, which is subject to administration by the executor or administrator of the estate.
[ ] 5% percent of the total gross assets of the estate as will be reported to the Inheritance Tax Bureau.
[ ] Hourly Rate. You agree to pay the Law Firm for legal services at the following rates:
Rate Per Hour
$325.00 out of court
$350.00 in Court or out of office time
You will be billed at these hourly rates for all services rendered. This includes telephone calls (minimum charge of 1/4 hour), dictating and reviewing letters, travel time to and from meetings and the Court, legal research, negotiations and any other service relating to this matter.
5. Payment of Fees. The agreed upon fees will be paid as follows: (check if applicable)
[ ] Schedule of Payments.
[ ] Bills. The Firm will send you itemized bills from time to time.
In addition, when the portion of the Initial Retainer remaining unbilled falls below $500.00, a subsequent retainer of at least $1,000.00 will be required; with further retainer payments being required on the same basis.
You can use a credit card number for payment. You permit bills to be submitted to you credit card company.
Credit card number: _____________________
Credit card company: ______________________ exp ____
For your convenience, we accept credit cards by email, over the phone, and PayPal. You can also make appointment to bring in check or cash or pay by credit card during office hours, mail in retainer check or drop off retainer check through front door mail slot on weekends and evenings.
We do not represent you until all fees are paid. All bills for costs and legal expenses are due upon receipt. The estate of the Deceased will be charged interest at a yearly rate of 18% on any remaining balance not paid within 30 days from the date on the bill. If bills remain unpaid and collection efforts required, the firm will be entitled to collect an amount equal to the amount due, all court costs, plus 20% of the outstanding amount as a collection fee, pursuant to the case of First Morris Bank v Roland Offset Services 357 NJ Super. 68 (App. Div 2003). As set forth by the Court decision of Hrycak v Kiernan 367 NJ Super. 237 (App. Div. 2004) a reasonable attorney fee shall be paid if collection, fee arb or proceedings to enforce a fee arb are instituted.
6. Costs and Expenses. In addition to legal fees, the estate of the Deceased must pay the following costs and expenses: Probate fees, Court costs, accountants' fees, appraisers' fees, service fees, Experts fees, investigator fees, messenger services, and any other necessary expenses in this matter.
7. Other Legal Services. You and the Law Firm may make additional agreements to provide for legal services not covered by the Agreement. Without such agreements, the Law Firm is not required to do any of the following:
(a) File Complaints in Superior Court
(b) Prepare Formal Accountings in Superior Court
(c) Locate Estate assets
(d) Represent you in any other court or Tribunal
8. Your Responsibility. You must fully cooperate with the Law Firm and provide all information relevant to the issues involved in this matter. You must follow the instructions of your attorney. You must also pay all bills required by this Agreement. If you do not comply with these requirement, the Law Firm may withdraw from representing you. The Law Firm will also withdraw at your request.
The accountant who handled the prior tax returns typically prepares final Federal income tax returns. We can provide you with the names or experienced accountants to assist with Federal Income tax return upon request. The law office represents the estate, and not the individual beneficiaries. The Law office does not provide tax advice to the beneficiaries or handle Federal tax returns.
Signatures. You and the Law Firm have read and agree to this Agreement. The Law Firm has answered all of your questions and fully explained this Agreement to your complete satisfaction. You have been given a copy of this Agreement.
KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN CLIENT