Mexican Law/Legal fees in Mexico for probating a will
My father passed away this month, leaving a house in Leon GTO. He had a will created in 2007 with a notario publico, in which all of the children of his body are to receive equal shares. My sister, who is a dual citizen, as was my father, went to Leon with my brother Henry, who is the named executor of the will, for one year.
There is no argument or problem in the family. We have gathered my mother's and father's marriage certificates, and death certificates. We are in the process of getting the apostillas for all the documents here in Illinois, and will take them to a perito(expert) in Leon for translation.
My sister interviewed four attorneys to do this simple probate, and three of them asked for a percentage of the sales price of the property, ranging from 10-12% of the sales price, which we expect to be around US $220,000. The fourth attorney asked for a wire transfer of US $7,700.
Those fees are much higher than what would be charged here in Illinois. Is taking a percentage of the sales price a common practice in Mexico? Is the probate process so much more complex in Mexico.
I had asked my father to sell the house while he was alive, to avoid probate. Now I feel that this is an adventure in Mexican legal extortion. Every time I have been to Mexico, I have been seen as a target to take advantage of, by moneychangers, shopkeepers, policemen, taxi drivers, et al.
I do not wish to submit to the professional level of corruption, if that is what I are facing. I remember fondly when Vicente Fox asked Mexicans not to abuse those of us del otro lado. Do you have any recommendations I can pass onto my sister?
A sad pocho waits for your answer.
The short answer is that yes, the fees seem high, but it is common for lawyers in probate matters to charge a percentage and not a flat rate as would be more common in the US.
When a will is executed by a Notario, probate can be handled in one of two ways, 1) By a Notario without the need to bring the matter before a judge or 2) By initiating a "juicio sucesorio" before a judge. The first is more expensive but is very quick. The second is much cheaper but can take between 6 months and a year. But in any case, probate is not a difficult procedure (in principle) in a case like this where the heirs are easily identifiable and no one is contesting the will. The only complication in probate before a judge is dealing with the same nitty gritty procedural details that are common to most civil matters in Mexico.
Another factor to consider is if the fees quoted included the cost of "adjudicating" the property. That is, creating and filing a new deed and paying the associated fees to the State government.
Even though Leon is a long way, I would be willing to do this job for you for $5000 and my office would cover any travel/lodging expenses. However, this fee would not include any fee related to the creating and filing the new "escrituras" or deeds.
My direct email is: firstname.lastname@example.org