Legal Services Agreement Template

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LEGAL SERVICES AGREEMENT
(Estate Plan)
This document (the "agreement") is the legal services agreement that California law
requires lawyers to have with their clients.
1.
This agreement is made between
IDENTIFICATION OF PARTIES.
___________, hereafter referred to as "Law Firm", and _____ and _______, hereafter
referred to as "Client."
2.
CONDITIONS. This agreement will not take effect, and Law Firm will have
no obligation to provide legal services, until Client returns a signed copy of this agreement,
and pays the fee required by Paragraph 7 of this agreement.
3.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF LAW FIRM AND CLIENT. Law Firm will
perform the legal services called for under this agreement, keep Client informed of progress
and developments, and respond within a reasonable time to Client's inquiries and
communications. Client will be truthful and cooperative with Law Firm, provide on a timely
basis all information and documents necessary to Law Firm's effective representation of
Client's interests, keep Law Firm reasonably informed of developments and of Client's
address, telephone number, and whereabouts, timely make any payments required by this
agreement and abide by this agreement. Client should keep in mind that Law Firm's ability
to adequately represent and advise Client is dependent upon Client keeping Law Firm fully
informed. It is, therefore, important that Law Firm be fully apprised of all facts and
circumstances concerning Client's assets and Client's family as well as Client's desires with
respect to the disposition of Client's property.
4.
RETENTION OF FIRM RATHER THAN PARTICULAR ATTORNEY.
Client is retaining Law Firm, not any particular attorney, and the attorney services to be
provided to Client will not necessarily be performed by any particular attorney.
5.
DELEGATION OF SERVICES. Client understands that Law Firm includes
more than one attorney, and that one or more attorneys may be utilized in the proceedings
involving Client's case. Client further understands that support personnel from Law Firm may
also do work in connection with Client's case.
6.
LEGAL SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED. The legal services to be provided
by Law Firm to Client are as follows: Preparation of the following documents: (Check
appropriate boxes)
G
Revocable Living Trust
G
Schedule A
Legal Services Agreement Page 1 of 7
LEGAL SERVICES AGREEMENT
(Estate Plan)
This document (the "agreement") is the legal services agreement that California law
requires lawyers to have with their clients.
1.
This agreement is made between
IDENTIFICATION OF PARTIES.
___________, hereafter referred to as "Law Firm", and _____ and _______, hereafter
referred to as "Client."
2.
CONDITIONS. This agreement will not take effect, and Law Firm will have
no obligation to provide legal services, until Client returns a signed copy of this agreement,
and pays the fee required by Paragraph 7 of this agreement.
3.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF LAW FIRM AND CLIENT. Law Firm will
perform the legal services called for under this agreement, keep Client informed of progress
and developments, and respond within a reasonable time to Client's inquiries and
communications. Client will be truthful and cooperative with Law Firm, provide on a timely
basis all information and documents necessary to Law Firm's effective representation of
Client's interests, keep Law Firm reasonably informed of developments and of Client's
address, telephone number, and whereabouts, timely make any payments required by this
agreement and abide by this agreement. Client should keep in mind that Law Firm's ability
to adequately represent and advise Client is dependent upon Client keeping Law Firm fully
informed. It is, therefore, important that Law Firm be fully apprised of all facts and
circumstances concerning Client's assets and Client's family as well as Client's desires with
respect to the disposition of Client's property.
4.
RETENTION OF FIRM RATHER THAN PARTICULAR ATTORNEY.
Client is retaining Law Firm, not any particular attorney, and the attorney services to be
provided to Client will not necessarily be performed by any particular attorney.
5.
DELEGATION OF SERVICES. Client understands that Law Firm includes
more than one attorney, and that one or more attorneys may be utilized in the proceedings
involving Client's case. Client further understands that support personnel from Law Firm may
also do work in connection with Client's case.
6.
LEGAL SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED. The legal services to be provided
by Law Firm to Client are as follows: Preparation of the following documents: (Check
appropriate boxes)
G
Revocable Living Trust
G
Schedule A
Legal Services Agreement Page 1 of 7
G
Assignment of Personal Property to Revocable
Living Trust
G
Certificate of Trust
G
Community Property Ownership Agreement
G
Separate Property Ownership Agreement
G
Pour-Over Will for ________ and _________
G
Standard Will for ____________________ and
____________________________
G
Durable Power of Attorney for _________ and
_________
G
Advance Health Care Directive for ________ and
__________
G
Life Insurance Trust for _______________ and
_______________________
G
Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust
G
Charitable Remainder Uni Trust
G
Charitable Lead Trust
G
Family Limited Partnership
G
Other:
Legal Services Agreement Page 2 of 7
If Client wishes that Law Firm provide any legal services not covered by this
agreement, a separate written agreement between Law Firm and Client will be required. In
the event Law Firm provides services at Client's request on any matter other than that
specified in this agreement, Client agrees that the terms of this agreement shall govern our
relationship for that matter in the absence of a separately signed written fee agreement.
However, any additional services will be billed according to the Rate Schedule attached
hereto.
7.
FEES/DEPOSIT. Client agrees to pay by the hour the billing rates as set forth
in the Rate Scheduled attached hereto.
8.
Law Firm may incur various costs and expenses in
EXTRA COSTS.
performing legal services under this agreement.
Copying Costs: Law Firm will provide Client with one extra copy of their estate planning
documents. Client will be charged according to the Rate Scheduled attached hereto for any
additional copies requested.
Preparation of Documents to Transfer Assets: The fixed fee rate does not include time spent
and costs incurred in the preparation and handling of any transfers of assets to Client's estate
plan. If Client wishes Law Firm to provide additional services relating to the transferring of
assets, such additional services will be billed according to the Rate Schedule attached hereto.
If Client does not desire Law Firm's assistance in the transfer of assets to Client's estate plan,
Law Firm will require Client to sign a release concerning the transfer of assets.
9.
STATEMENTS AND PAYMENTS. Law Firm will send Client monthly
statements indicating attorneys' fees and costs incurred and their basis, and any current
balance owed. Any balance will be due and payable in full within 15 days after the statement
is mailed. Client agrees that Law Firm may elect to close Client's file and stop work on the
file if the account is not paid in full within 15 days after the billing date, unless special
arrangements are agreed upon by Law Firm and Client and confirmed in writing.
Law Firm shall have a lien for services rendered and costs advanced on any sums
recovered, whether by settlement or judgment, on account of the claims of Client. Law Firm's
lien shall also cover any additional charges and/or costs related to Client's account such as
Law Firm's costs of collection of a past due account owed by Client to Law Firm and any
service charge on Client's delinquent balance.
10.
DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS. In the event that Client does not pay his or her
account in full when it becomes due, Client agrees to pay all costs of collection plus a service
charge on any delinquent balance at the rate of ______.
11.
ACCEPTANCE OF CHARGES. Client agrees to notify Law Firm in writing
of any billing error or dispute within 30 days from the date of the statement which first sets
forth the erroneous or disputed charges. Client also agrees that in the event Client has not
notified Law Firm in writing of a billing error or dispute within 30 days of the date of the
statement which first sets forth the erroneous or disputed charges, that such statement shall
Legal Services Agreement Page 3 of 7
be deemed to have been accepted by Client as an accurate and appropriate billing and Client
agrees to pay for such charges in full, without adjustment of any kind.
12.
DISCHARGE OF LAW FIRM. Client may discharge Law Firm at any time
by written notice effective when received by Law Firm. Unless specifically agreed by Law
Firm and Client, Law Firm will provide no further services and advance no further costs on
Client's behalf after receipt of the notice unless Law Firm is required by ethical or legal
reasons to continue representing Client.
13.
WITHDRAWAL OF LAW FIRM. Law Firm may withdraw at any time as
permitted under the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California. The
circumstances under which the Rules permit such withdrawal include, but are not limited to,
the following: (a) Client consents to withdrawal, (b) Client's conduct renders it unreasonably
difficult for Law Firm to carry out the employment effectively, or (c) Client fails to pay
attorneys' fees or costs as required by his or her agreement with Law Firm.
Notwithstanding Law Firm's withdrawal, Client will remain obligated to pay Law Firm
the agreed fee for services provided, and to reimburse Law Firm for all costs advanced, before
the withdrawal.
14.
RELEASE OF CLIENT'S PAPERS AND PROPERTY. In the event that
Client requests that Law Firm relinquish Client's original documents in his or her file, Client
agrees to give Law Firm at least five (5) working days written notice of Client's request in
order to provide Law Firm's staff sufficient time to make a copy for Law Firm's records. In
the event expedited service is requested, Client agrees to pay for clerical staff overtime for
Law Firm to accommodate Client's request.
15.
DISCLAIMER OF GUARANTY. Although Law Firm may express an
opinion about possible results regarding the outcome of Client's matter, Law Firm cannot
guarantee any particular result. Client acknowledges that Law Firm has made no promises
about the outcome and that any opinion offered by Law Firm in the future will not constitute
a guaranty.
16.
ERRORS & OMISSIONS COVERAGE. Law Firm maintains errors and
omissions insurance in excess of the amount required by California law.
17.
ENTIRE AGREEMENT. This agreement contains the entire agreement of
the parties. No other agreement, statement, or promise made on or before the effective date
of this agreement will be binding on the parties.
18.
SEVERABILITY IN EVENT OF PARTIAL INVALIDITY.
If any
provision of this agreement is held in whole or in part to be unenforceable for any reason, the
remainder of that provision will be severable and remain in effect.
19.
MODIFICATION BY SUBSEQUENT AGREEMENT. This agreement may
be modified by subsequent agreement of the parties only by an instrument in writing signed
by both of them or an oral agreement to the extent that the parties carry it out.
Legal Services Agreement Page 4 of 7
20.
DOCUMENT RETENTION. It is Law Firm's policy to retain Client's file in
Law Firm's storage facility for a period of not more than seven (7) years. Thereafter, Law
Firm will ultimately destroy all files, documents, records, and writings related to each
engagement for which Law Firm has been retained without notifying Client of the destruction
of these items. Therefore, to be certain that Law Firm has not retained any material that Client
may need or desire, Law Firm will return to Client all original documents Client has made
available to Law Firm if Client so instructs Law Firm in writing within thirty (30) days after
Law Firm mails to Client a letter informing Client that Law Firm has completed the services
agreed to be provided under this agreement. After the thirty (30) day period has expired, Law
Firm will charge a $25.00 fee for obtaining Client's file from Law Firm's storage facility. Law
Firm will not obtain Client's file from its storage facility until such sum has been received by
Law Firm.
21.
FACSIMILE SIGNATURE. Client's facsimile signature on this agreement
will constitute Client's original signature and Client's acceptance of the terms of this
Agreement.
22.
The effective date of this
EFFECTIVE DATE OF AGREEMENT.
agreement will be the date when, having been executed by Client, the agreement is received
by Law Firm.
Once effective, this agreement will, however, apply to services provided by Law Firm
on this matter before its effective date. Even if this agreement does not take effect, Client will
be obligated to pay Law Firm the reasonable value of any services Law Firm may have
performed for Client.
Dated: ______________
By_________________________________
_________________, Attorney
The undersigned has read the foregoing Legal Services Agreement and understands
its terms and those set forth in the attached Rate Schedule and agrees to be liable, jointly and
severally, for all obligations under this agreement.
__________________________
______________________________
Dated:_____________________
Dated: _____________________
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