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Don’t hesitate to ask attorney about fees

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in Small Business Tax

Q: About 10 years ago, I paid $750 to an attorney to prepare a living trust. Recently, I asked him to update the trust to reflect a change in real estate properties. He charged me $350—almost half the original cost!—so I sent him a check for only $100. He returned the check with a note suggesting I find another attorney. Was I wrong? L.S.C., via e-mail

A: Yes, you were. For starters, you should have discussed the fee before requesting the attorney's service. Second, it's likely that the attorney has increased fees in the past decade, so a comparison with the original fee isn't really fair. Finally, this type of change is more than just a simple change of address, since additional paperwork must be completed and a copy of the new deed must be recorded. In many parts of the country, $350 would be considered a bargain, so you might want to apologize, and pay the requested amount.

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