Not having really been that much involved with lawyers over the years, a question has come up that hopefully one of the legal minds here can provide an answer to. (and I know different legalities occur in different localities) When retaining an attorney, does the retainer become part of the pay for the lawyer's services? Case in point, we have retained an attorney to deal with the courts on my Mother's estate. The attorney asked for a nominal retainer. And the retainer contract identified a fee for opening and representing the Estate as well as allowing for "additional costs". When the Estate is closed, and the Attorney's fee is to be paid, does the retainer become part of that attorney's fee?