Privacy and Confidentiality. As your attorneys, the firm owes you a duty to keep all private information confidential from other parties. The “attorney-client privilege” prevents Jones, Kuriloff & Sargent (also referred to as JKS) or any employee or agent of the firm from disclosing any information about you to anyone without permission – even other members of your family. (Please note that this can be waived if desired.)
Electronic Communications. If you provide us with an email address, we can take this as permission to communicate with you by email, and send draft documents for review by email, unless you direct otherwise. Email is said to be as secure as a telephone call, but not as secure as a letter sent by U.S. mail or private commercial delivery service. We can communicate legal advice and other sensitive information by USPS or private delivery service or encrypt email messages and attached documents, if requested.
Fees and Costs. Legal fees and reimbursable costs (see below) are usually billed monthly. Deposits, if applicable, are exhausted first. The “cut-off date” for services billed on a monthly statement is the last day of the month. We reserve the right to stop working on this matter if any bill is not paid within 30 days.
Our firm does not charge clients for the expenses of ordinary postage, local or long distance telephone calls or faxes to the U.S. and Canada, copies made in our office, or for the time our staff spends on routine clerical tasks. All of these “internal costs” are built into the hourly fees. The cost of mileage may be charged, at the applicable Federal mileage reimbursement rate, depending on the circumstances. You will be required to reimburse the law firm for any out of pocket disbursements made on your behalf, such as UPS, Federal Express or other private delivery services, copies made by an outside contractor, recording or filing fees and fees for copies of documents purchased from the Register of Deeds, Register of Probate or Secretary of State, excess postage (over $1 per item) and similar “out-of-pocket” expenses. In the event an appraisal of real estate or other property is necessary, you will be responsible for the cost. You can make your own arrangements with the appraiser; if we make the arrangements with the appraiser, we will have the bill sent to you.
The fee for this engagement includes only legal work described in the letter to which this Addendum is attached. Our firm provides a variety of legal services related to trusts, wills, estate planning, probate, elder law, estate and gift tax planning, charitable giving, business and real estate planning, family business succession, asset protection, and wealth preservation. We also provide fiduciary services: members of the firm serve as trustees, personal representatives, agents under powers of attorney, conservators, and guardians. If you ask our firm to do any legal work not specifically described in the engagement letter, whether that involves research, services or advice about other matters, or drafting additional documents (or making future changes to documents prepared for you as part of this engagement), we can charge for the time it takes to complete the additional work. No such additional work is included in any estimate of time or fees noted in the Engagement Letter to which this Addendum is attached.
We maintain a referral list of competent lawyers in other legal specialties and other states, and may also be able to refer you to another type of professional if you need services outside the legal profession. We do not charge a referral fee to our clients, and the lawyers or other professionals to whom we make referrals do not charge you an additional fee because we have referred you.
Retention and Destruction of Files. At the conclusion of this engagement we will return all original documents to you, unless we agree to hold them in safekeeping at your request. Our firm will keep copies of the documents for at least eight years, and possibly longer. Our current practice is to maintain scanned copies of all documents and other significant components of the file in Adobe PDF format. We often have printed copies as well; however, we may, as permitted by Maine law, discard the paper copies at any time, so long as we maintain the scanned copies for eight years from the conclusion of the engagement.
Our policy of discarding or destroying documents in your file does not apply to any original documents, such as signed original business or estate planning documents you have left for safekeeping with the law firm. We are required to return signed original documents with independent legal significance to you or retain them indefinitely.