Do you provide free legal services?
No. There are programs that provide free legal services. Those programs are usually only available to people with income at or below 125% of the federal poverty level. Our charitable mission is to help the people who make too much money to qualify for free legal services. The way we do that is by offering legal services on a "sliding scale" with prices tied to your income and household size.
Okay, so what is this going to cost?
We use your household size (the number of people that make up your household, including you) and your annual household income (the total amount of money the people in your household earn in a year) to determine whether or not we can help you in the first place. The chart below should help give you a rough idea of what to expect.
The top row of the chart tells you what percentage of the federal poverty level your household income falls into. The column on the far left of the chart is your household size. Finally, the bottom row of the chart is the amount we will charge you per hour (if your case is the kind we handle on an hourly basis). For example, if you had a household with 4 people in it, and your annual household income was $35,000, we would charge you $85 per hour.
Please be aware that this is just the cost for our time. There may be other costs involved - for example, you might have to pay a fee to file paperwork with the court.
If you decide to hire us, you will usually have to put down the first fifteen hours worth of money upfront. So, going with the example above, that person with the 4-person household and annual income of $35,000 would need to put down $1,275 to hire us. We will hold that money "in trust" for you, and will bill against the money as we do work for you. Every two weeks, if there is still work to be done, you will be asked to replenish your trust account.
There are some legal services we charge a flat fee for instead of billing you by the hour. The flat fee we will charge depends on your household size and annual income.
What flat fee services are available?
We offer the following flat fee services:
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: This involves putting together and filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. It also includes representing you in the bankruptcy court post-filing until your case closes. This includes the filing fee, but does not include credit counseling/financial management course fees (those usually cost about $20 each) or representation in adversary proceedings (which requires a separate, hourly retainer agreement). If you are in the $85/hour bracket we charge $635. If you are in the $115/hour bracket we charge $935. If you are in the $145/hour bracket we charge $1,235.
- Last Will and Testament: This is a package that includes a Last Will and Testament, General Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will. If you are in the $85/hour bracket we charge $150. If you are in the $115/hour bracket we charge $300. If you are in the $145/hour bracket we charge $450.
- Revocable Living Trust: This involves putting together a revocable living trust. If you are in the $85/hour bracket we charge $400. If you are in the $115/hour bracket we charge $800. If you are in the $145/hour bracket we charge $1,200.
- Succession by affidavit: This involves preparing a Small Estate Affidavit for Personal Property. If you are in the $85/hour bracket we charge $75. If you are in the $115/hour bracket we charge $150. If you are in the $145/hour bracket we charge $225. If the state involves real property we can also prepare a Small Estate Affidavit for Real Property. If you are in the $85/hour bracket we charge $150. If you are in the $115/hour bracket we charge $300. If you are in the $145/hour bracket we charge $450. This does not include any relevant filing fees or recording fees (required for real property affidavits, but not for personal property affidavits).
Anything not listed above will be billed at an hourly rate. If you think you need something that isn't listed above, ask us and we can discuss it with you! Likewise, if you are hiring us to perform one of these flat fee services and we discover you might need additional work that we can do on an hourly basis, we will discuss that with you.
How can I pay?
We accept cash, all four major credit cards, checks, money orders, and cashier's checks for nearly all of our services. The only exception to this rule are payments for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases. If you are filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case we will only accept cash, money orders, or cashier's checks as payment.
I think I understand, but I'm still not sure!
That is okay! Call us - we are happy to explain to you how our fees work and will likewise be happy to discuss it with you when we meet. We know it is important to understand what everything costs so you can budget appropriately for it, so we will be very upfront with you about costs.