FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Why do I need a lawyer?
- How can you help me?
- Why should I choose you to represent me?
- What are your fees?
- How can I reduce the amount of attorney fees I will have to pay?
- Will my private matters be kept confidential?
- How do I prepare for my appointment?
Why do I need a lawyer?
The law is a vast network of interrelated rules and regulations. Laws are beneficial because they provide structure within our society and allow us to plan for the future and hold people accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, the law is as complex as the people it governs. Without the proper training, it is almost impossible to navigate its fine print. Moreover, when it comes to the law, even a small mistake in procedure or slight error in wording can have serious consequences. For those reasons, a lawyer can perform for you the useful functions of helping you better understand the law, identifying your rights under the law, and assisting you in determining the best way to protect those rights.
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How can you help me?
If you are like most people, you probably aren’t happy that you need to hire an attorney. However, hiring a good attorney can actually be a positive experience. At Bodycombe and Associates, we will identify your legal issues and help you understand what your rights are. We will explain the methods by which you can resolve your legal issues and advise you of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Moreover, we will anticipate issues that may arise in the future and resolve them now, so they do not become a problem later. In short, we will help you to regain control over your situation and bring you peace of mind in the process.
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Why should I choose you to represent me?
Our law firm is unique because we focus solely on estate planning and probate (decedents’ estates, trust and guardianship) administration matters. This concentration has allowed our attorneys to develop an intimate familiarity with the complexities affecting these practice areas. We know the right questions to ask to quickly get to the root of your legal issues and identify your options moving forward. Our experience allows us to make efficient use of time while still providing the quality legal services you are looking for.
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What are your fees?
Billing for trust, guardianship, decedent and other probate estate administrations is incurred on an hourly basis, according to each attorney’s individual billing rate in one-tenth (1/10th) of an hour (i.e. six minute) increments. Billing for estate planning differs slightly. After a free ½ initial consultation, any additional time incurred is billed hourly in the manner described above. We offer a set fee schedule though for most of our estate planning documents, which includes preparation of the documents, revisions and execution of the documents. If you have any questions or would like additional information about our billing rates and current fee schedule, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (614) 777-4600.
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How can I reduce the amount of attorney fees I will have to pay?
When an attorney bills hourly, you can reduce the attorney fees billed by being efficient and organized. For example, you can prepare a list of the detailed information you believe to be most important to your case to review with the attorney at your appointment. This is helpful because an attorney’s advice is very fact specific, so when a fact changes, the law or procedure that applies to your case may change with it. For that reason, you want to be sure the attorney has all of the relevant information up front so the advice provided is accurate.
Another technique to reduce fees is to provide any information requested in a timely manner. This will eliminate time spent to contact you on additional occasions, just to follow up with the original request.
Will my private matters be kept confidential?
Yes. Your communications with our attorneys are protected under the attorney-client privilege. Any information provided to our attorneys will remain confidential.
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How do I prepare for my appointment?
We suggest that you make a list of questions you would like to ask the attorney. If you have questions about a particular document (i.e. an insurance policy, a will, a trust, etc.), please be sure to bring a copy of that document to your appointment as well. Finally, if you are an estate planning client or a probate administration client (executor, administrator, etc.), please be sure to bring the following documents/information with you to your appointment:
Estate Planning Clients: a completed Estate Planning Questionnaire (provided upon scheduling your initial estate planning consultation).
Probate Administration Clients:
- Original Death Certificate;
- Original Will (if any, or a copy if the original is not available);
- Names and addresses of the beneficiaries named in the Will and other heirs not named in the Will (we will help you identify these persons when you call to schedule your appointment);
- A list of the decedent’s assets (i.e. assets owned by the person who passed away) and any corresponding documentation (statements of financial accounts for the time period covering the date of death, copies of car titles, copies of deeds, etc.); and
- A list of the decedent’s debts (i.e. debts owed by the person who passed away) and any corresponding documentation indicating the status of payment as of the decedent’s date of death.