A contingency fee agreement is a type of legal fee agreement in which an attorney agrees to litigate your case without being paid for the legal fees until money or property is distributed to you. This can mean that you have less risk of loss if the dispute is unsuccessful. Our law firm will sometimes to a case on a contingency fee basis for larger probate and trust litigation matters in Missouri. Usually we will only consider a case for this type of litigation if it involves more than $250,000.
Our firm is unusual in that most law firms that practice in the area of probate and trust litigation will only consider taking these cases if the client can pay fees on an hourly basis. In some cases we will start a case on an hourly or flat fee arrangement and then consider a contingency fee arrangement after we have had more of a chance to investigate the case.
Contingency fee agreements can be well suited to probate and trust litigation. Typically, in probate or trust litigation one or more children have been disinherited or have had their inheritance greatly reduced and one child or a non family member will receive most or all of the estate.
In these cases the child who will receive the bulk of the estate has control of the money and can often use it to hire an attorney to defend the challenged will or trust. The children who are contesting the will or trust have to use their own financial resources to fund their litigation. If they don’t have the financial resources to hire an attorney on an hourly basis then they may be left with two choices. First, don’t file the case. Second, find a lawyer who will take the case on a contingency fee.
There is no one way to pay for the cost of probate or trust litigation. Each person must evaluate their own case and circumstances to determine if an hourly rate or contingency fee makes the most sense for them.
If you have a trust or probate dispute in St. Charles County, St. Louis County or anywhere in Missouri, call Legacy Law Center to discuss your case and your options.