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Question about attorney fees


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A friend here who died last year left his house to his daughter.  She lives in Australia and is working with a Boquete attorney to do all the paperwork to transfer title of the house to her.  He told her his fee is 10% of the appraisal of the house.  That could come to $10,000 or more.  Does anybody know if that is the normal fee for this kind of work?

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We got our attorney by email. Could she not send some email inquires?

If not here is our recommendation:

Lourdes Miranda
Attorney at Law - Abogada
Miranda & Contreras Law Offices.
Mobile (507) 6611-9679

Boquete: Don Vidal Building, Office #1, Bajo Boquete
Tel: (507) 730-9113
Panama: Trump Ocean Club, floor 2, office wing, Punta Pacifica.
Tel: 399-9875   
www.lawandrealty.net
 

She is awesome and honest!

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Thanks for the info.  I will pass it on to her.  The original attorney now has all the papers.  Hopefully if she changes attorneys, he will turn them over.  She isn't selling the house, she is just transferring it into her name.  I think her attorney is jerking her around.  Why should the value of the house have anything to do with this?  It should just be a fee for service plus any filing fees.

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Judy

Attorneys that probate estates can take as much as 30% + of the assets. This is scandal in Panama and needs to be exposed and resisted.

There are honest attorneys like Miranda and Contreras who don't dip nearly that deeply.

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3 hours ago, JudyS said:

Thanks for the info.  I will pass it on to her.  The original attorney now has all the papers.  Hopefully if she changes attorneys, he will turn them over.  She isn't selling the house, she is just transferring it into her name.  I think her attorney is jerking her around.  Why should the value of the house have anything to do with this?  It should just be a fee for service plus any filing fees.

"she is just transferring it into her name"  ..from a person who is no longer breathing. 

Makes it a bit more complicated.

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On 4/6/2016 at 7:17 AM, Penny said:

Judy

Attorneys that probate estates can take as much as 30% + of the assets. This is scandal in Panama and needs to be exposed and resisted.

There are honest attorneys like Miranda and Contreras who don't dip nearly that deeply.

Yes.   This was discussed in the Tuesday meeting by atty Contreras.  The % is the tag on by attorneys who handle the estate through the Probate process.   This is an important topic and one many here are not aware of.  Even if your home is in a Corporaton, and there is a Will here in Panama, it will go through probate according to atty Contreras.  I agree with Penny....it's a legal scam.   Only way to avoid Probate is to have your possessions within a Foundation according to this same attorney.

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Thanks Doug...we need to make an appointment with Atty Contreras ( today!) and discuss this option......all options actually.   We did recently get an apostilled copy of our marriage certificate from Florida so as to obtain a certification of marital status here in Panama, in that our Corporation papers lists us both as single,  At the time we formalized our corporation we were told by the woman in the govt office that "this was just how it's done here"  ( which we thought at the time was mighty weird...not thinking about Probate or other such thoughts).  Anyway...just to be certain Panama sees us as official man and wife we'll obtain certification of marital status from Panama. 

Edited by Brundageba
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1 minute ago, TwoSailors said:

At Lourdes suggestion we have a Foundation... so no probate!!

Good.  Many of us here bought our homes already in a Corporation.  Annual expenses would double to put that Corporation within a Foundation...like $1200.00 a year tax and fees total.

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3 minutes ago, Brundageba said:

Thanks Doug...we need to make an appointment with Atty Contreras ( today!) and discuss this option......all options actually.   We did recently get an apostilled copy of our marriage certificate from Florida so as to obtain a certification of marital status here in Panama, in that our Corporation papers lists us both as single,  At the time we formalized our corporation we were told by the woman in the govt office that "this was just how it's done here"  ( which we thought at the time was mighty weird...not thinking about Probate or other such thoughts).  Anyway...just to be certain Panama sees us as official man and wife we'll obtain certification of marital status from Panama. 

Two comments. First a disclaimer. Neither Marcelyn nor I are attorneys. We are not legally trained. However, we have checked with several attorneys and suggest that you do some serious due diligence in your selection of counsel.

Comment 1: Marcelyn and I were married in the USA. We have just recently successfully gotten our US marriage registered on the Registro Civil database. Have the certificate to prove it. This is important in legal matters as well as health matters. I will not go into any details here (partly because so many people have differing needs and viewpoints about how things work here). If you would like to discuss further or in detail, perhaps a telephone call or an eyeball meeting.

Comment 2: Our understanding is that the only, repeat ONLY, way to avoid probate is for real property to be in a foundation. Having POAs or other legal documents while real property is in a corporation will not avoid the need for probate. And here I repeat: I will not go into any details here (partly because so many people have differing needs and viewpoints about how things work here). If you would like to discuss further or in detail, perhaps a telephone call or an eyeball meeting.

Bottom line of the purpose of my reply: suggest that everyone do some serious due diligence in the selection of counsel. Also stay current because the rules change from time to time.

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Bud...that's exactly how we understood the Probate issue.  

A Foundation .....solution to the Probate problem.  A couple of issues resonate with us: 1) time in Probate ( 8 months minimum average if non-contested) and 2) Cost paid to the attorney to sail you through it ( % of asset to the attorney) .  In the long run we keep coming full circle to biting the bullet and placing our home's Corporation into a Foundation.  Every attorney we have spoken to has told us that.  As well every attorney has told us it would be 1) a pain in the tail and 2) expensive to dissolve the Corporation and replace it with a Foundation.  

Edited by Brundageba
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When we bought our house here in Brisas it was a corporation that was dissolved and we formed a Foundation. It was easy for the seller and us... they did not have to pay any fees. Perhaps sell your interest to a Foundation and dissolve your corporation? Just guessing....! Contact Lourdes... she has been very keen on all this.

Good Luck!

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10 hours ago, TwoSailors said:

When we bought our house here in Brisas it was a corporation that was dissolved and we formed a Foundation. It was easy for the seller and us... they did not have to pay any fees. Perhaps sell your interest to a Foundation and dissolve your corporation?

Back in those days they weren't enforcing the transfer fees which today equal 5% of the value (or sales price) of the property. Transfer a house out of a corporation to a foundation triggers that fee.

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  • 11 months later...
On 4/11/2016 at 0:47 PM, Penny said:

One option if your property is in a corporation and the shares have not yet been issued is to issue the shares in the name(s) of your heirs. Of course this triggers other reporting requirements with the IRS

Without heirs, then you have to do the Foundation

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