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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Default What's Your Obligation to Pay Legal Fees if You Decide Not to Use a Lawyer's Services

    My question relates to legal practice in the state of: California

    Our Lawyer during an information on Wills consultation advised us that it was important, in order to protect ourselves to not have just a will but also a Living Trust with Deed, HIPPA authorizations, a HIPPA Authorization for the trustee, A consent to Represent Agent, 2 Durable Power of Attorneys for both finance and healthcare and additional "Legal" Advance Directives. The works, I guess you could call it. No reason to doubt professional advise, we signed and agreed to the fee of $1700. with $600 due and paid immediately.

    Later during the week, since I had no idea what most of these things meant, I decided to computer research some of the things on the list of documents the lawyer was providing for us I immediately was able to find out that a living trust and deed recording was not right for our current living situation, our house is for sale, we will make no money off of it, we have no children or any assets. Everything is super simple, no itemization, additions, special requests, nothing. Honestly, I feel a little mislead about what she stated was right for us and a "must have" for legal purposes.

    I immediately contacted the office and told them I would like to cancel everything except our wills and Durable Power of Attorneys for Health and Finances, also discuss pricing adjustments for the changes in services, and why. The office manager basically said no worries and that said she would drop a note to the vacationing lawyer.

    Today, I received an email response from the Lawyer simply stating she was Sorry, but it's too late she has already printed the first drafts and they were out for proofreading. Apparently I am under obligation to complete, sign and pay for everything whether I need or want them? I had planned on them keeping the $600 I already paid, and also paying any additional charges for their time and trouble but, paying the additional $1100 seems a bit ridiculous under the circumstances.

    Any advice other than to suck it up? Is this typical, legal, common?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Can I Cancel My Living Trust and Other Docs Before Lawyer Completes

    If you believe that the lawyer misled you are free to file a complaint and a fee dispute with the State Bar of California:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Default Re: Can I Cancel My Living Trust and Other Docs Before Lawyer Completes

    Thank you for your time, but I don't feel this situation warrants a State Bar complaint.

    I am hoping someone here would have a similar situation and solution they could share, or know the law well enough to tell me if I have the right to cancel a living trust, not yet finalized or signed, and request a fee adjustment to reflect the cancellation (minus time and labor of course), or am I legally obligated to go through with this?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Can I Cancel My Living Trust and Other Docs Before Lawyer Completes

    You have the rights that are outlined in your contract. If your contract allows you to cancel the work and pay only for the work performed to date, that's what you can do. If you negotiated a flat fee for completion of the work with no provision for cancellation once the work is commenced, then your agreement complicates any effort to get a refund.

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