A local attorney entered into an attorney client relationship to conclude the probate of an estate without executing an attorney fee contract with the client. The only work the attorney performed was to simply file a closing statement for the previously opened estate. The attorney closed the estate without resolving a valid outstanding claim with a hospital totaling $150,000. The attorney sent the client a bill for $50,0000 representing a one-third attorney fee for avoiding to pay the hospital. The total time the attorney worked on the file was a few hours.
After firing the attorney, my firm was retained. The Probate Pro, PLC filed a petition to re-open the estate and to compel the former attorney to reimburse previously received attorney fees. We successfully disgorged the fees and successfully resolved the claim with the hospital. The client then filed a grievance against the attorney for a breach of Michigan’s Rules of Professional Conduct.