Trust and probate litigation on behalf of abused beneficiaries and wholly or partially disinherited heirs in Los Angeles against wrongdoing trustees and perpetrators of elder financial abuse is often handled by way of attorney-client contingency fee arrangements. Such fees are not set by law and are negotiable between attorney and client prior to signing the agreement.
The economics of contingency fee considerations underlie the decision to propose or accept a contingency fee. Each party will assess the viability of a contingency fee at the time the agreement is entered into. Here’s the deal: there is a contingent risk factor – the case may not succeed, and in that event, neither the attorney nor client will get anything.
At Hackard Law, we are often asked by Los Angeles-area clients to consider a contingency fee arrangement in probate, trust and estate litigation. As a practical matter, our considerations include the amount of the fee in proportion to the value of services performed. It only makes sense to do work on a contingency fee basis when the prospective recovery matches the inherent risk factor. You and I both know that money talks, and a contingency arrangement should be beneficial to both the client and the attorney who earns his fee by protecting the client and recovering trust assets on their behalf.
Faced with a busy trust and estate litigation practice, we must also consider whether given the time and labor necessary, we could adequately staff and prosecute new probate and/or civil litigation for a case at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. We factor in that the acceptance of a new case may preclude new employment of our law firm by other prospective clients.
While every case is unique, the viability of the professional relationship with our Los Angeles clients is critical. We turn away plenty of cases where it is obvious from the beginning that attorney-client chemistry will be lacking. When a prospective client tells me that his case is a sure winner, and all that I need to do is exactly he tells me to do, I go with my instincts and respectfully decline. It’s important to understand that successful probate litigation just doesn’t work that way.
We like to speak to prospective clients about their probate litigation matters. That said, initial discussions do not create an attorney-client relationship – those formalities follow if there is a meeting of the minds and an agreement documenting the relationship.
If you’ve been blindsided by a bad trustee or perpetrator of elder financial abuse and would like to discuss what options might be available to you in a potential trust, estate or probate litigation matter in the Los Angeles area, call us at Hackard Law: 213-357-5200. We’ll be happy to speak with you.