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How much to charge family friend for legal services?

I'm doing some simple estate planning for a family friend (n cinnamontoastcrunch08/09/18
I usually charge friends about a third of what I charge stra nycatt08/09/18
Depends on what it is exactly, but I ALWAYS make sure that t data08/09/18
Although I don't do estate planning, I do not represent fami guyingorillasuit08/09/18
Amen to that. Like when your friend's brother sues you for c orgdonor08/10/18
First to answer the question, then some caveats. Unless i dingbat08/11/18
cinnamontoastcrunch (Aug 9, 2018 - 2:07 pm)

I'm doing some simple estate planning for a family friend (not my normal area of expertise, but something I can handle). How much should I charge? I don't know what the normal cost would be because I set up my own will and trust.

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nycatt (Aug 9, 2018 - 3:01 pm)

I usually charge friends about a third of what I charge strangers if I am not giving up paying work to do the job / have the time. If I was very busy, I would charge close to full price or skip it. That is just me though. Charging full price or charging nothing are both fine options.

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data (Aug 9, 2018 - 3:45 pm)

Depends on what it is exactly, but I ALWAYS make sure that they know what the full price would have been, and then knock it down from there. Most of my work is flat fee type of stuff, so I usually calculate their discount based on how demanding / difficult they were through the process.

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guyingorillasuit (Aug 9, 2018 - 5:36 pm)

Although I don't do estate planning, I do not represent family or friends (or family friends) in any kind of litigation. It tends to end poorly, and can ruin relationships. This may be different in the transactional context.

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orgdonor (Aug 10, 2018 - 10:51 am)

Amen to that. Like when your friend's brother sues you for cutting him out of the will. Find someone to trade you horses.

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dingbat (Aug 11, 2018 - 11:49 am)

First to answer the question, then some caveats.

Unless it's a close friend, or a distant relative, you should probably charge full fare. Your mother's book-club hasn't done anything to deserve a discount, and neither has your second cousin twice removed.
You could always say that because of your connection you'll charge a "special price" (which is equal to your regular price; or if you're concerned about false or misleading statements, discount your regular price from $3000 to $2999 or $2999 to $2995, or something like that)

If it's a close relative or "family-by-choice" friend, then yeah, give them a discount.
If you're busy and it's taking away from other work, charge close to what you normally charge - you're losing money by turning away regular work, or working overtime to accommodate them. Maybe a 10% discount could be in order, maybe 25%, depending on how close a friend/relative, your financial circumstances, their financial circumstances, etc. There are certain people I'd work for free for, but those can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

On the other hand, if it's a slow time, considering how you have time on your hands and don't need to do any prospecting or networking or advertising or nothing, so 25% makes sense, 50% if you're especially generous or desperate. But make sure you tell them what you usually charge, that you're doing them a favor as a close friend, and that it's a one-off, that if they need more work, you'll probably charge them full fare.



Now for the caveats!

as others have indicated, tread lightly. There's too much chance for animosity, and conflict-of-interest that might not be obvious (such as if you prepare a will for your best friend's parents that cut's out his/her siblings)

Also be wary of any potential indicators that it's beyond your skills. Far too many attorneys think that estate planning is easy, or that they're just handling an easy matter, but don't know what they don't know and will miss key indicators. If your family friend s young, in good health, has never had any children and doesn't have a lot of money, yeah, by all means, go ahead. But there are so many potential issues that lousy estate planning attorneys and even good attorneys who only dabble in the area wouldn't even know to ask about.

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