How much does a lawyer charge?

It is wise to ask a lawyer for an estimate of his fees before you hire him. Most lawyers charge by the hour so ask for his hourly rate and an estimate of how many hours to do the work. Some lawyers may charge for probating a will and advising the executor by using a percentage of the value of the estate. Some provinces have a rate that courts use. Also, if the lawyer has to do some of the things the executor normally does, the lawyer will charge for this. This could include holding estate funds in a trust account, meeting with beneficiaries and preparing accounting.  It is best to ask before hiring the lawyer and to get his fees and estimates in writing. It is often hard to tell how many hours it will take to do the legal work.

Are wills held in a lawyer’s office?

Lawyers often get permission from the person making the will to keep the original in the lawyer’s office for safe keeping. You can take the original with you if you wish. There is normally no charge for this and the executor is entitled to have the original released to the executor on death of the person making the will. Sometimes the lawyer has retired or died etc. In that case, the provincial law society can be contacted to see which lawyer or law firm is likely to be holding the will. The executor does not have to hire the lawyer who drew the will, but many do.

What legal fees can I expect with regard to my estate?

  1. Normally a lawyer will charge about to 1.5% of the value of the estate just for probating the will or getting a Letter of Administration if someone dies without a will. 
  2. Normally an executor or a trust company acting as an executor will charge up to 5% or more for doing the work of the executor.
  3. Normally a lawyer will have an hourly rate for additional legal work. The hourly rate varies but could be $150 – $350 per hour or more.

The bottom line is, get an estimate in writing.

What are the executor’s duties?

Read my article, Stewardship: Executors and Taxes and  that answers this question. 

How can I leave a bequest to establish people in God’s Word?

A bequest to Precept Ministries will leave a ongoing legacy that will establish people in God’s Word. Bequests such as this are wise stewardship of God’s resources. After you prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you do, you could use this suggested wording in your will:

I give devise and bequeath to Precept Ministries Inc. of Brantford Ontario

 The sum of ______________ or

My property known as _____ or

My shares in _____________ or

____% of the residue of my estate or

the residue of my estate

for its sole use and purpose.

Do you have other Questions?

Please call or email me if other questions come to mind. Dr. Tom Hart 519-751-7600 ext 203 or tfmhart[@] 

This article is intended for information purposes only and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Please seek a professional for legal or tax advice.

For more information on Wills and Estate Planning in Your Province visit:

Government of Canada


British Columbia

Manitoba (a legal guide to Farm Estate planning PDF document)

New Brunswick


Saskatchewan (estate planning for farm families)


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