ATTORNEY-CLIENT ENGAGEMENT AGREEMENT
Will Clinic: Essential Married Estate Plan
1.1 Explanation of Engagement Agreement: Initially, let us thank you for your expression of confidence in retaining our firm to act as your legal counsel in connection with your estate planning, as described below. It is our belief that a clear understanding between attorney and client with respect to the terms of our employment and legal fees and expenses is fundamental to a good relationship between the parties. The attorneys at Lilac City Law pride ourselves on our exemplary communication with our clients and on ensuring that they understand the legal process and feel comfortable with it. This Agreement will begin that process by explaining in more detail our mutual expectations and obligations to each other. It also will provide you with an accessible reference for any questions that might arise during the course of our attorney-client relationship.
1.2 Client: It is our pleasure to represent the Undersigned (“you”) to develop a comprehensive plan that will ensure that you make the very best decisions throughout your lifetime, and that your loved ones have the information, guidance, and resources they need in the event of your incapacity or death. At this point in time, we only represent you, and no other persons in connection with this engagement.
1.3 Scope of Engagement; Flat Fee and Hourly Rates: You have asked us to advise you in planning and preparing your estate planning documents.
For a flat fee in the amount of $1000, we will prepare for you the documents as outlined below:
Essential Married Estate Plan
60m attorney consultation with guided plan designs.
Simple Wills – without complex trusts involved or distribution patterns
Durable Power of Attorneys – nomination of individual/alternate to handle financial and legal affairs upon incapacity
Health Care Agents – nomination of individual/alternate to make medical decisions upon incapacity, including interaction with pharmacies, hospitals, physicians
HIPAA authorizations – permission for the above-named individual to send and receive Private and Sensitive Personal Information
Health Care Directives (Living wills) – Outlines an individual’s intention and decisions regarding their medical treatment and end of life choices.
Our engagement and the services that we will render to you are limited strictly to legal services in your estate planning matters. It is understood that we are not providing, and you are not relying on us for, business, investment, accounting, or valuation decisions, or to investigate the character or credit of persons or firms with whom you may be dealing (such as insurance companies or investment advisors). You are responsible for making decisions and determinations on matters not involving legal determinations, as necessary or appropriate for your estate planning.
The flat fee will be placed in our operating account upon receipt. Any services you request outside of the scope of the flat fee are covered by the general terms of this Agreement, but will be billed at our normal hourly rates, which are $275.00 per hour. Under no circumstances will we ever engage in any work under this hourly rate without first discussing it with you. There will never be any surprises. The rates are also incrementally adjusted annually to account for increased overhead and expenses and you agree to pay such adjusted rates.
If after the attorney consultation, you decide you no longer wish to pursue planning with our firm, a refund minus a $100 consultation fee will be charged back to the card used to purchase the plan. A complete refund is payable only if you have not yet met with the attorney for a consultation and design meeting.
1.4 Assignment of Personnel: We reserve the right to determine which of our personnel are assigned to this matter, based upon considerations of time and degree of expertise required.
1.5 Disclosure & Confidentiality: Estate planning is an important and highly personal matter. To be successful, it requires that you disclose to us information about your family relationships and about your financial affairs that you will most likely regard as highly confidential. You agree to provide us with all factual information and materials necessary to perform our services. You must provide a complete disclosure of your financial matters, and your intentions concerning the disposition of your estate, to us, because a failure to do so could make it impossible for us to give proper advice to you. We cannot be responsible for undesired consequences caused by a failure to disclose information to us.
All information that you disclose to us will be maintained as confidential within the firm, and we will not disclose it to persons outside our firm without your permission or a court order, with the exceptions noted in the next paragraph.
If other persons not in our firm are working with us on your estate planning with your permission (such as your accountant, a bank trust office, a financial planner, an insurance agent, or another law firm), you agree that we may disclose such information to them as we believe necessary to allow them to fulfill their role in your estate planning.
1.6 Conflict of Interest Waiver: If you are married or seeing us jointly with your life partner, we are representing both of you jointly in your estate planning, as set forth in Paragraph 1.2. This means that we owe duties and obligations to both of you.
Estate planning is an area in which persons with shared interests can often disagree. As partners, you share certain goals and interests. Yet, on occasion, your interests could potentially differ, and sometimes conflict. You agree to waive any all potential conflicts of interest inherent in the joint representation. If a controversy ever developed between you concerning your estate planning, we would be required by the Rules of Professional Conduct to withdraw from the joint representation, and we would not thereafter represent either of you individually in that controversy without the consent of both of you.
By employing us to represent you jointly, you also agree that among us (the two of you and us), there will be no confidentiality of communications or information. All information can and will be shared.
Furthermore, by signing below, you both explicitly agree that, upon the request of either party, we may perform legal work to revoke (a) any joint document between you, or (b) your own document, even when the revocation may have a substantial effect on the other spouse. In such event, you agree that we may prepare a new will, trust and/or other documentation for one or both parties, and you both waive any conflicts of interest to allow us to do so.
1.7 Incapacitation: If you become unable to make adequately considered decisions about the matters on which you have retained me to advise you, whether because of mental disability or other reasons, we retain the right to (a) terminate our representation, or (b) seek the appointment of a guardian or conservator, or to take other actions to protect your interests if we reasonably believe that to be necessary.
You are permitted under the law to appoint other persons to act in your behalf (for example, such as an attorney in fact under a durable power of attorney). Those persons can continue to act on your behalf even if you later become unable to make your own decisions. If the authority that you give to those other persons is broad enough, they can make decisions for you concerning your estate planning and any other matters that you have retained us to advise you on. For example, that authority could include that ability to make gifts of your assets during your lifetime (and perhaps including making gifts to the agent himself or herself), and to execute contracts and agreements on your behalf.
If you have a guardian or conservator appointed, or if you authorize another person to act on your behalf under a power of attorney or some other arrangement, you agree that we may continue to represent you in your estate planning or those other matters through your agent, and that we may rely upon the communications and instructions from that person. You also agree that we may communicate with agent and disclose to him/her all confidential information previously communicated by you to us.
1.8 Communication: Communication is vital to the success of our relationship. We aim to be extremely responsive because we believe that responsiveness is extremely important to our clients. We are generally open during normal business hours, except on holidays and weekends. We promise to return your call as soon as possible. You may also email us with any questions or concerns you have.
We encourage you to ask questions as frequently as you need to feel comfortable with our relationship and your estate plan.
1.9 Disputes and Arbitration: Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this Agreement, including any claims for legal malpractice, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and/or other claims relating to the provision of professional services, shall be settled by binding arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association in accordance with its applicable rules. By agreeing to submit this matter to binding arbitration, you are waiving your right to a jury and any rights to appellate relief. If you have any questions regarding the waiver of these rights, we urge you to consult with another attorney of your choice. Any judgment on the arbitration award rendered by the arbitrator(s) may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. The arbitration proceeding shall be held in Spokane County.
Any dispute relating to fees, costs or legal expenses in dispute, including any action to collect monies owed, is subject to the arbitration procedure established by the State Bar and codified at Washington Business and Professions Code. Any action relating to such a fee dispute shall be conducted in conformity with that statute, notwithstanding the fact that the parties may agree to binding arbitration of such fee disputes after the statutory obligations are met or otherwise consistent with the statutory scheme.
This agreement is a limited arrangement for the purpose of completing your estate plan. If you know or should know of an asset not disclosed, we are not liable for any negative outcome of the estate plan designed.
1.10 Mutual Right of Termination: You will at all times have the right to terminate our services upon written notice to that effect. We will at all times have the right to terminate our services, upon written notice, in the event that: (1) you fail to cooperate with us in any way which we may reasonably request; (2) you fail or refuse to timely pay our invoices as submitted; (3) we determine that an actual or potential conflict of interest has arisen that makes continued representation infeasible; or (4) we determine in our reasonable discretion that it would be professionally untenable to continue our services for you for any reason.
1.11 Record Retention: During the course of our representation, we will generate and maintain files for you. We store all files electronically and do not maintain any paper files. It is your responsibility to maintain the original willand your flash drive in either a fireproof safe or safety deposit box. Be sure copies are accessible elsewhere and your personal representative has access to your safe or deposit box.
1.12 Modifications: This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between us and supersedes all prior written or verbal agreements regarding the terms of our representation. This agreement can be modified only in a writing signed by both parties.
1.13 IMPORTANT: Signing Ceremony: A Signing Ceremony will be scheduled approximately 2-4 weeks from the date of your estate plan design meeting with the attorney. It is very important that you keep your scheduled appointment because each of your documents is customized with the date on them.
If you require special signing arrangements outside of what is offered by Lilac City Law, we can make custom arrangements for a flat fee of $200. (e.g. Sending a notary to your home, office, or elsewhere)
In the event that you do need to reschedule, we ask that you do so at least one week in advance. Rescheduling the Signing Ceremony less than one week in advance will result in a $250 reprinting charge to cover our labor and paper costs.
If the foregoing terms and conditions are agreeable to you and accurately reflect your understanding of our attorney-client relationship, please indicate your approval and acceptance by dating, signing, and returning this letter to us. Please retain a signed copy of this letter for your files.