July 16, 2007 at 12:00 am #185190drbobmellenMember
What do attorney’s services cost in Costa Rica. I’m thinking of RE purchase, bringing a car in, bringing a trailerable boat in and residency. Thanks BobJuly 16, 2007 at 6:04 pm #185191
I’m glad you asked this question. We were referred to an attorney there and found his fees for certain things exhorbitant. We got married through him, thinking it would be less, and he was going to charge us $1,000. He went down to $700. Fortunately, our paperwork didn’t go through, so it was tossed out and we got most of our money back. So we just got married here in the states at a JP for $80.
I’m not sure what exactly you meant by purchase, car, boat, but if you meant purchasing land/home, I would definitely ask around about a good AND resonable atty. We were referred to this atty by someone on this site…and he’s really a nice guy, but sure does seem expensive to us.
I was going to post a question similar to yours about how much atty fees are for a certain service. In our case, it’s re: fees for having a shelf corporation which is held by the law office. We bought property and our atty recommended we put it into a shelf corporation which is held by the law office. So, they have legal custody, and it is a legal Costa Rican address for our company. First we want to know how necessary this is, and second we’d like to know how much fees for this type of service generally run. I know each law office is different and fees vary…but generally speaking. Sometimes I believe the Attys there think all foreigners are rich. I know we have more than most of them, so in their eyes we all probably are rich. However, there are some things for which I believe we’re being overcharged, and yet we have no experience with other attys to compare it to. Anyone have any experience with shelf corporations and fees? Are they over $600 a year? Are they necessary?
Diane and PaulJuly 16, 2007 at 7:26 pm #185192jmhardyMember
I recently closed on a home in the Tilaran area and also had to do a couple of power of attorney declarations as well as formation of a Costa Rican corporation. Total cost was about $275.July 16, 2007 at 8:52 pm #185193AndrewKeymaster
You can read ‘Buying or Building Real Estate in Costa Rica? What You Need To Know About Closing Costs. Part two’ at .
Scott Oliver – Founder – Founder
WeLoveCostaRica.comJuly 17, 2007 at 10:29 am #185194
Wow, that’s really inexpensive compared to what we paid. Hmmm. Did you use a lawyer in San Jose for this transaction? Did you use a shelf corporation? Probably would help us just to ask around. Will probably order the book that Scott recommended reading. I don’t know if it gives a listing of lawyers or not, but will check it out for other information.July 18, 2007 at 1:15 pm #185195
Appreciate your feedback on this, Scott, and for the name of the book. We will probably purchase it in the near future. I didn’t see anything in the article you sent re: lawyer’s fees for holding people’s shelf corporation paperwork. I’m sure there are a variety of fees floating around out there…and we just need to be able to access that list of lawyers and their fees for certain services. That’s what is difficult to find. Is there any site or place we can go to find this? The law firm we are with now wants to know our decision by Aug. 1st. on whether we want to pay for another year for them holding our shelf corp. The cost for this particular service seems high. We’d like to find out if it is, or if this is the standard price with all law firms there.July 18, 2007 at 1:22 pm #185196AndrewKeymaster
$600 per year would not be unheard of but I’m sure you could find someone willing to charge less. In Cayman you would probably pay $5,000 per annum for the same service
The ‘shelf’ corporation has been changed so that you are the now primary signatory now on this corporation, right?
Scott Oliver – Founder
WeLoveCostaRica.comJuly 18, 2007 at 3:31 pm #185197
Yes, Paul is the “President” (which he likes to rub in my face! ha!) and I’m the Secretary. He had another lawyer in the office sign off on our corporation paperwork as well. Can’t remember if it was as a custodian, or a board of trustee member or what. My mom bought some property in Tambor several years ago and her lawyers requested the names and driver’s licence numbers of at least 4 people to be the board of trustees for her corp. and he charged about $250. He also sent mom all the “shares” of the corp. in the mail. We weren’t given any shares. Our lawyer’s firm has “legal custody” of all our documents and they are the legal address for notifications for the corp within the Republic of Costa Rica. Maybe it’s worth paying the price for this service. I just don’t know enough about all this to make good judgement calls.July 18, 2007 at 7:15 pm #185198
Two Important Notes:
First, when a corporation is formed, the attorney doing the work is required to issue shares of stock to persons who are physically present to sign for and accept them. If you were not issued all the shares in your corporation, you don’t legally own it. This is true regardless of whether you are the officers with the powers (the president and the secretary, typically). And . . . The shareholders can replace the officers at will.
Second, anything that is done in the name of the corporation, including changing board members, transfer of stock, etc, MUST be recorded in a duly issued set of corporate books. There are six books in all. An attorney or (maybe) a notary must make those entries in Spanish, in longhand, and notarize them.
Should you or some other involved party die, or should you wish to sell the property which is held in your corporation, it is critically important that these matters have been addressed.July 19, 2007 at 2:12 pm #185199
I looked at our paperwork again and found papers with Abogado y Notario on the top…and it’s all in Spanish…so I don’t really know what that is, but am hoping it’s the information necessary. Do they keep the “shares” in the corporation folder in their office? We paid for that particular property in full while there last year.
Another property we decided to buy we’re paying off on a loan. The paperwork for that property names the other lawyer that signed our corp paperwork as our President AD HOC and a woman in their office as Secretary AD HOC. It’s all in legalese, so difficult to understand, but in the third resolution, it’s acknowledging the resignation of the president and secretary of the board of directors of the company and make new appointments to the board, naming Paul as president and me as secretary and our lawyer as resident agent.
I hate to sound ignorant about this, but honestly, law was never an interest to me, and I have always had difficulty understanding legalese. That’s why we pay lawyers the big bucks. I’m not adverse to learning though! Sure do hope our lawyer did the right thing. He seems very reputable, as does the company. Scott recommended him, so I assume he’s ok.
Paul and I don’t know if we should try to find a new lawyer or go ahead and pay them another $650 to hold this corporation in their files. I thought perhaps we should talk to the lawyer that wrote the book Scott recommended “The Legal Guide to Costa Rica”, and see what he suggests. Roger Peterson! Does anyone know if he has an email address so I can write him?July 20, 2007 at 2:28 pm #185200diegoMember
The above is solid info – take it to heart.July 20, 2007 at 3:16 pm #185201
Thank you David for the information. And yes, Diego, I do take this to heart! I’m concerned about this situation now,and will talk with Paul about this when he gets home this evening. Then I’ll write to our atty Monday to find out where our “shares” in the corp are and why we didn’t receive copies. I certainly do appreciate your feedback on this issue!! It’s so hard to know who to trust.July 20, 2007 at 11:16 pm #185202
It is not necessarily the case that physical proof of the shares actually exists. That is, one can get official paper and print up share certificates, but the absence of those certificates does not mean that the shares do not exist. They are or can be a legal fiction.
What matters is what is provided for in the papers which establish the corporation and what is recorded in the officially sanctioned corporate books. You need to know to how many shares were created and to whom they were assigned. If they were not assigned to you, the putative owners of the corporation, then you need to get them transferred to you by properly recording an act of transfer (not a proper legal term) in the corporate books and having the parties to whom they were originally issued sign that transfer. And your attorney must notarize that transfer and affix the appropriate revenue stamps.
Maybe someone can expand on this, but I see no advantage to anyone, except the attorneys, for them to keep the corporate records in their offices and/or to charge you an annual fee for doing so. (Somebody has mentioned this in regard to a “shelf corporation.)
I’ve said elsewhere that my recommendation is to deal with the most capable and most honest attorney you can identify and then to have his or her work checked by the next best candidate. I stand by that.July 21, 2007 at 2:49 pm #185203
Well, Paul and I went through all our paperwork this morning and found a proxy letter naming Paul and I as 100% owners of the shelf corporation (first sentence in the proxy) and that we have agreed to give them power of atty so that they will pay for taxes, stamps, etc. in our stead since we do not live there. This service, as well as the fact that they are the legal address for our corporation, is most likely what the $650 yearly fees are about and possibly the “advantage” for us. We do remember discussing with him about 6 books in the shelf corp while in his office…and signing a bunch of papers. We still do not know how many shares were created…but apparently we’re 100% owners of them. He did notarize and affix and pay the revenue stamps…we both remember paying for those.
It’s difficult not knowing who is or is not reputable or capable. I understand what you mean about dealing with the most capable and honest atty then having their work checked by the next best candidate…makes a whole lot of sense, especially if you have access to those people. Maybe I can find another lawyer online so I can ask their opinion about whether everything is above board in this situation. How do I know if they are reputable and honest though? My gut tells me our current law firm is honest, but, it would be good to find out for sure. My gut’s been wrong before! It’s just possible that all is well and that this company is just one of the expensive ones…lucky us!July 21, 2007 at 7:08 pm #185204
No attorney I, but I remain confused.
Does your corporation have any real economic activity? If not, then most accountants would advise you that it’s not necessary to file annual statements with the government, there’s no need for revenue stamps, etc. If that’s the case, just what acts does your power of attorney permit your attorneys to do in your name? Just how much work are they doing for $650 per year?
You can keep physical custody of the corporate books yourself. You don’t have to file any reports.
Our attorney charges us c10,000 for about an hour’s consultation. That’s around $19.00US. For $650US, I can buy over 34 hours of her time *every year*.
Lowered!! What are you getting for your money?
You’re not actually renting shelf space for this “shelf corporation”, are you?
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.