WWTPD--Lawyers bill--UPDATED with more info in OP
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 1/28/2013 by blondiek237 in NSBR Board
 

blondiek237
PeaFixture

PeaNut 70,239
February 2003
Posts: 3,276
Layouts: 8
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 1/28/2013 9:22:26 AM
My BIL is disabled and get benefits. So when mom died we wanted to make sure that we did things legally and that his medical insurance would be protected. We met with a lawyer who gave us information, this information did not seem like it could be true so I did some digging and made some phone calls and found out that the information he gave us was not even close to reality. He charged us $100 for this information. Would be ok with just paying the bill, paying the bill but letting him know his info was very incorrect or tell him we are not paying the bill?
Thanks

UPDATE
Here is more info. By BIL is on state medicaid (due to his disability) so if he gets mom life insurance payout we need to make sure it would not effect his insurance. The lawyer told us they would take the amount and divide it up over the year and consider it income and he would need to change to the paying version of state insurance (this is MA so its due to Romneycare). He would have a $17,000 deductible for the first 6 months then he would have to pay like $300 for each of the next 6 months. I finally got a number for MassHealth and called, the woman that I spoke with was very nice and gave me some general info (that was no where near what the lawyer told us) and gave me the number for his case worker. I called her and was told that he had an asset max and that if he went over that he would have $100 deducted from his disability check each month, until his asset went under that amount. So you can see the lawyers info was not even in the ballpark. Then he brought up pooled trusts and we could go that route (not gonna happen). He had this whole stack of papers that I have no idea where he got them from, but one phone call would have given him the general info that I got. We made this appt specifically to get info about his MassHealth.





*maureen*
Bad Wolf

PeaNut 191,892
February 2005
Posts: 6,012
Layouts: 0
Loc: Wheaton

Posted: 1/28/2013 9:26:20 AM
I'd pay the bill and let it go. Life is too short to get twisted over $100.

basketdiva
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 187,030
January 2005
Posts: 2,053
Layouts: 0
Loc: Eastern Shores of Mobile Bay

Posted: 1/28/2013 9:28:32 AM
I would pay the bill and also let him know the information he gave was incorrect. I wonder if a paralegal did the research and the attorney did not review it???

I-95
It's all just nonsense anyway!

PeaNut 97,456
July 2003
Posts: 20,376
Layouts: 0
Loc: California, NY & Orlando

Posted: 1/28/2013 9:28:45 AM
$100 is cheap for a lawyer. I'd pay it and mention that the information he gave was incorrect.

Maryland
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 87,597
May 2003
Posts: 10,666
Layouts: 0

Posted: 1/28/2013 9:29:47 AM
I would call and ask about it. If he gave you wrong information, it's not fair that you had to pay. That's a lot of money for the wrong information. If he doesn't cooperate could you contact his boss or the local bar association? Of course I don't know the details, but I would look into it if you feel you were wrongly charged. Just my opinion, I don't know the answer.


blondiek237
PeaFixture

PeaNut 70,239
February 2003
Posts: 3,276
Layouts: 8
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 1/28/2013 9:35:35 AM
I-95 The $100 was the initial consultation fee, if we hired him then we would pay him hourly. I would be having less of an issue with this, if it hadn't taken me about an hour and 2 phone calls to get the correct information.

scrappin jen
PeaAddict

PeaNut 111,615
October 2003
Posts: 1,611
Layouts: 0

Posted: 1/28/2013 10:31:43 AM
I would pay it and mention the information was inaccurate so that they don't continue to pass it on to others. Consider it a lesson learned and next time try yourself first since it turned out to be simple and easy to do in a couple of hours yourself.

Epeanymous
PeaFixture

PeaNut 15,108
May 2001
Posts: 3,039
Layouts: 1

Posted: 1/28/2013 10:34:24 AM
Not that it necessarily matters, but was the consultation feel for legal advice or for meeting to see if you would want to hire him? I don't know that I ever have heard of legal advice being offered for $100.

MikeWozowski
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 174,400
October 2004
Posts: 7,909
Layouts: 20

Posted: 1/28/2013 10:34:48 AM
i would not pay and tell him why.

i did this with a dr. bill once. never heard back from them.

IleneTell
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 434,842
August 2009
Posts: 2,837
Layouts: 654

Posted: 1/28/2013 10:34:56 AM
I don't think it's fair to have to pay $100 for information that isn't correct or useful in any way.

I'd contact the office and let them know that the information isn't correct and that I don't think I should have to pay the bill, and see what they say. Since you didn't go on to hire him and since his info was incorrect, they might waive the $100.



blondiek237
PeaFixture

PeaNut 70,239
February 2003
Posts: 3,276
Layouts: 8
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 1/28/2013 10:40:37 AM
Thanks all. I think I will call him and let him know the information was worthless and then go from there.

I-95
It's all just nonsense anyway!

PeaNut 97,456
July 2003
Posts: 20,376
Layouts: 0
Loc: California, NY & Orlando

Posted: 1/28/2013 10:47:31 AM

I-95 The $100 was the initial consultation fee, if we hired him then we would pay him hourly.


I see. That would probably chance my mind as to how I'd handle it.

Usually consultations are free, if you're thinking about hiring a lawyer for a specific function. If you went to get actual getting legal advice, I can see being upset about the $100.

I wouldn't call his office, I would write a letter, which generally requires he write a response, and most lawyers will let it go rather than get into a dispute over $100. You'll probably never hear from him again....but a phone call can devolve into a real dispute. Put it in writing.

Luvspaper
PeaFixture

PeaNut 24,564
November 2001
Posts: 3,976
Layouts: 0

Posted: 1/28/2013 11:09:03 AM
It was a consult fee. I would pay it because he did consult. I suspect if you had hired him that he would have charged more (that extra time you spent) to get the information that you found.

Did he put anything into writing? I suspect not. So it would be hard to prove anything he stated.


scrapbookwriter
BucketHead

PeaNut 314,427
May 2007
Posts: 954
Layouts: 0
Loc: Utah

Posted: 1/28/2013 11:31:05 AM
I had a similar issue with an attorney. I had a mortgage mess with my parents' home. The attorney said he was sure he could help and he asked me to send him the paperwork. Then he called and said, "Gee, I don't know what to do. That will be $150 please."

I disputed it for awhile but life is too short. I paid the idiot. I will certainly never call this guy again. What a dweeb.

*~*amanda*~*
...

PeaNut 393,905
October 2008
Posts: 7,415
Layouts: 0
Loc: Illinois

Posted: 1/28/2013 11:36:23 AM
I think you owe the money if it is for the consultation.
You had the consult and he told you what he thought of the situation.

I have no idea what the 'right' answer is, though.

Legal bills are certainly hard to pay when you didn't get what you paid for....I know. We have one to the tune of $12,000 we're paying right now!



WillowJane
Running the Marathon, Not the Sprint

PeaNut 110,589
October 2003
Posts: 7,068
Layouts: 8
Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/28/2013 11:50:41 AM
I wouldn't pay it. The consultation was worthless because the information was wrong.

BudgetMama
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 138,670
March 2004
Posts: 2,318
Layouts: 2
Loc: Oregon

Posted: 1/28/2013 11:54:34 AM
I would also write a letter telling him his info was incorrect. Maybe even offer to sell him the correct answer and your contact info for, say, $100! lol!

I think since it's not a legal case where you lost and are paying for his services, it's akin to fraud to charge someone for false information / not deliver the services agreed upon.

Simply_Lovely
AncestralPea

PeaNut 463,295
April 2010
Posts: 4,171
Layouts: 3
Loc: New York City

Posted: 1/28/2013 12:07:03 PM
The thing about lawyers is that if you ask 5 of them the same question, you'll get five different answers. So you would have a hell of a time proving in court his info was absolutely incorrect. It would cost you a lot of time and money to do so. So my advice is to tell him the information was wrong and you don't feel you should pay for it. If he insists then pay it and write him a bad review.




Meow!

~Lauren~
Original Pea #1803

PeaNut 246,606
January 2006
Posts: 30,182
Layouts: 16
Loc: right here...even if some don't like it. ;)

Posted: 1/28/2013 12:10:14 PM
Actually, consultations are NOT usually free. I charge a consultation fee for all matters but bankruptcy and just about all attorneys I know charge a consult fee as well. "Time" is an attorney's stock in trade. I


If the $100.00 was a consultation fee, you should pay it. You had the consultation.





Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian - Henry Ford

WillowJane
Running the Marathon, Not the Sprint

PeaNut 110,589
October 2003
Posts: 7,068
Layouts: 8
Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/28/2013 12:18:10 PM
    Actually, consultations are NOT usually free. I charge a consultation fee for all matters but bankruptcy and just about all attorneys I know charge a consult fee as well. "Time" is an attorney's stock in trade.

    If the $100.00 was a consultation fee, you should pay it. You had the consultation.


Lauren - I ask in my most professional and respectful voice - how can you accept the fee when the information you gave the client was wrong? Time is stock from your perspective as the lawyer and I get that. Correct legal advice is the client's stock which was not provided in this situation.

blondiek237
PeaFixture

PeaNut 70,239
February 2003
Posts: 3,276
Layouts: 8
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 1/28/2013 12:19:13 PM
Here is more info. By BIL is on state medicaid (due to his disability) so if he gets mom life insurance payout we need to make sure it would not effect his insurance. The lawyer told us they would take the amount and divide it up over the year and consider it income and he would need to change to the paying version of state insurance (this is MA so its due to Romneycare). He would have a $17,000 deductible for the first 6 months then he would have to pay like $300 for each of the next 6 months. I finally got a number for MassHealth and called, the woman that I spoke with was very nice and gave me some general info (that was no where near what the lawyer told us) and gave me the number for his case worker. I called her and was told that he had an asset max and that if he went over that he would have $100 deducted from his disability check each month, until his asset went under that amount. So you can see the lawyers info was not even in the ballpark. Then he brought up pooled trusts and we could go that route (not gonna happen). He had this whole stack of papers that I have no idea where he got them from, but one phone call would have given him the general info that I got. We made this appt specifically to get info about his MassHealth.

~Lauren~
Original Pea #1803

PeaNut 246,606
January 2006
Posts: 30,182
Layouts: 16
Loc: right here...even if some don't like it. ;)

Posted: 1/28/2013 12:51:22 PM
First, I only handle three types of matters; bankruptcy, divorce and family law. So, IMO, I am very unlikely to be outright "wrong" in what I tell people.

I take payment of the consultation fee at the time of the consultation because for one reason or another people always look for ways to not pay once they've received the service. So, no consultation fee; no consultation. My time is valuable.

As another person mentioned, many of the things people consult with an attorney about are not cut-and-dried, right or wrong. But if someone thought they could use that excuse as a way not to pay, believe me, they would. I'm not saying the OP is doing this, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that the lawyer gave her was not 'wrong', just not what she had hoped for or thought.





Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian - Henry Ford

blondiek237
PeaFixture

PeaNut 70,239
February 2003
Posts: 3,276
Layouts: 8
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 1/28/2013 12:56:29 PM
Lauren, I understand where you are coming from, but in this instance when we called to make the appt, we told him this is why we were coming to him. If he just had the basic info that I received from the main MassHealth number and if he said we would need to call the case worker with all his numbers to get his exact amounts, I would have been fine with that and would have no problem paying the $100. But to go from--he would have a $17K deductible then have to pay $300/month for a year to--if he goes over his asset limit ($7K) then they would deduct $100 from his check--that is a bit too much incorrect info for me.
If I did someone's taxes and they get audited and I totally did them incorrectly, not only am I on the hook for the incorrect taxes (if I took money and signed the return as the accountant)but I would not expect a fee for my incorrect filing.

~Lauren~
Original Pea #1803

PeaNut 246,606
January 2006
Posts: 30,182
Layouts: 16
Loc: right here...even if some don't like it. ;)

Posted: 1/28/2013 12:59:39 PM
I hear you. One of my pet peeves is lawyers who insist on handling "everything" just because their degree says they can. They're usually competent at very little.

However, I'd still pay the $100 and be done with it.





Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian - Henry Ford

Pridemom
Pride of the Peas

PeaNut 25,575
December 2001
Posts: 19,740
Layouts: 45
Loc: Stuck in the Middle With You

Posted: 1/28/2013 1:03:12 PM
Can you put it in a special needs trust fund and pay his bills with it? I am familiar with medicaid for my state and anything in a person's name is an asset. But a relative can directly pay for expenses and it does not count as income, therefore does not have to used towards Medicaid Spenddown.




Proud Wife and Mom to four big goons!
I cannot be old enough to have three teens and a tween.

God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially formed you to
go through it, not without pain but without stain.
-- C. S. Lewis

Uploaded with iPhone client

blondiek237
PeaFixture

PeaNut 70,239
February 2003
Posts: 3,276
Layouts: 8
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 1/28/2013 1:09:54 PM
Pridemom--The 2 types of trusts were the pooled trust (which we did not like at all) or a special needs trust (but the lawyer did not mention this one). Because he is totally disabled, under 65 and getting SSDI there is no asset limit on his disability, we are only concerned with his insurance. There is an asset limit on that of $7K and once he is over that, they take the $100 from his check for, I think, its Medicare part D.
He is not going to have the money long--we need to retrofit our house to be able to accomidate him going forward (he will eventually be in a wheelchair) so between his money and the small amount we are getting we should be able to get it done.
I did some reading on pooled trusts and there is no way we would be comfortable with this type of trust as we would have no control over it at all.
Post Reply . Post New TopicShow/Hide Icons . Show/Hide Signatures
Hide
{{ title }}
{{ icon }}
{{ body }}
{{ footer }}