Probate & Wills: 214.273.6919
9400 N. Central Expy., Ste. 1630
Dallas, Texas 75231
At the Duran Firm, we always provide our clients with an Attorney-Client Fee Agreement that lists the projected fees and costs of the case. We promise that you will know the terms of our relationship prior to your being obligated to pay any money to the Firm.
Attorney's Fees - The attorney's fees for a guardianship depend on the type of guardianship required and whether the matter is contested or disputed.
Hourly-Fee Guardianships - In some types of guardianships, there is no way to know in advance how long or how difficult the case will be. There is also no way to estimate costs. Examples include cases where a guardianship of the estate is required or cases that are contested or disputed by the proposed ward or by a member of the proposed ward's family. In cases where we cannot estimate the time or costs, the only fair way to bill for these types of cases is to bill fees on an hourly basis and bill costs as they are incurred. Effective January 1, 2017, The Duran Firm's hourly rate for attorney's fees is $300 per hour. The Duran Firm's hourly rate for paralegal work is $100 per hour.
Fixed-Fee Guardianships of the Person Only - The Duran Firm can often assist the parents or siblings of persons with intellectual disabilities for a fixed fee. These types of cases usually do not require a guardianship of the estate because the proposed ward does not hold any property or receive any income in his or her own name. Furthermore, the proposed ward and the proposed ward's family are usually in agreement about the guardianship. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the Firm's guardianships for special needs person have qualified for a fixed-fee.
The Duran Firm cannot quote you a fee until the facts and circumstances of the case are determined. In order to be considered for a fixed fee, the following conditions must be met:
- The proposed ward must be a resident of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolitan area;
- The proposed ward must not have an estate such that the Court would require a guardianship of the estate;
- The proposed ward must not contest the guardianship; and
- The proposed ward's family must be in an agreement as to the guardianship and the person(s) to serve as guardian(s).
The Duran Firm likes to give you a complete picture of what you can expect to pay for your guardianship case. The estimated total attorney's fees and court costs for an uncontested guardianship of the person only are as follows:
Collin County $1,200
Dallas County $1,200
Denton County $1,500
Tarrant County $1,200
This fixed fee includes assistance with the following tasks only:
- Preparation of the Application for Guardianship of the Person;
- Preparation of Affidavit of Inability to Pay Court Costs by Proposed Ward;
- Preparation of any Waivers of Notice (if required);
- Attendance at the hearing on the application.
- Preparation of the Order Appointing Permanent Guardian of the Person;
- Preparation of the Guardian's Bond and Affidavit of Sureties; and
- Preparation of the Guardian's Oath.
Bond - The costs for a bond depend on the type of bond required by the Court.
Guardian of the Person Only - In Dallas County, a Guardian of the Person must post a $100.00 cash bond. Many of the surrounding counties do not require a cash bond. Instead, those courts allow guardians to post a personal surety bond which is a written promise to pay the Court if the guardian fails to properly perform his or her duties. No cash is required unless the guardian fails to perform his or her duties. If the proposed ward does not have significant assets, the bond amount is usually minimal ($500.00 or less).
Guardian of the Estate - A Guardian of the Estate will need to obtain a surety bond issued by a bonding company. Annual premiums are paid directly to the bonding company and are a percentage of the bonded amount.
Court Costs - If the proposed ward and the applicant do not have the ability to pay court costs, the Court is required to waive court costs.
Attorney ad litem - The Court will appoint an attorney ad litem for the incapacitated adult. The attorney ad litem's fees are approved and awarded by the Court. If the incapacitated adult has sufficient assets, and the Application for Guardianship is successful, the ad litem's fees will be paid from the incapacitated adult's assets, not your assets. If the incapacitated adult has no assets and the Applicant is unable to pay the fees, the County will usually pay the ad litem's fees. Ad litem's fees normally range from $400-600 in an uncontested guardianship. If the Application for Guardianship is unsuccessful, then the Applicant is responsible for paying the ad litem's fees.
Payment Terms - The Firm accepts cash, checks, money orders, MasterCard and Visa for the payment of attorney's fees and expenses. Due to the reasonableness of our rates, payment of all expected fees and expenses is due prior to the Firm accepting you as a Client. No exceptions.
If you live in a county that is not near the Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolitan area, you may want to call an attorney that has an office near the county courthouse in the county where the proposed ward resides. That attorney's price is often lower than that of an attorney that must travel.