One of the complaints we often get are about Costa Rican lawyers is how much they charge. But did you know that there is a schedule of fees for legal and notary services as a matter of law?
Minimum fees (honorarios mínimos) for most common legal and notary services are set by the Colegio de Abogados and the Dirección Nacional de Notariado, the professional associations for each in Costa Rica.
The current rates were set in Executive Decree No. 41457-JP, published in La Gaceta on February 1, 2019. You can read the decree in its entirety by clicking here (in Spanish).
Remember, these are the minimum rates that a lawyer/notary public should charge for these services. Lawyers and notaries can, and often will, charge more.
It’s good to know the reference values to see if your lawyer is overcharging you for the same service that another, equally competent and professional lawyer would charge less for.
Here’s a sample for some common legal and notary services:
- Standard hourly rate: about $200 USD;
- Certification of signature: about $40 USD;
- Certified copy of a document: about $40 USD;
- Celebrating a civil marriage: about $300 USD;
- Divorce by mutual consent (without alimony or child support etc): about $300 USD;
- Forming a standard company: about $400 USD;
- Simple modifications to a company: about $200 USD;
- Constitute a mortgage for $100,000 USD: about $1,500 USD;
- Pay off/cancel a $100,000 USD mortgage: about $800 USD;
- Foreclose on a $100,000 USD mortgage: about $9,500 USD;
- Transfer of a title of a car worth $20,000 USD: about $500 USD;
- Transfer of a real estate property worth $200,000 USD: about $3,000 USD.
Note that these are ONLY the legal fees for these procedures. Government fees (such as timbres) and taxes (such as transfer tax) will apply separately. Also, if the legal process in question becomes more complex, there can be additional legal fees assessed.
So, is your lawyer overcharging you? At Grupo Gap we can offer you assistance and referrals to legal professionals in Costa Rica.
Contact us now to set up a consultation!