Pre-Engagement: When you first contact The Teresa Rhyne Law Group we generally will set an initial appointment time and then send you an estate planning and organizing questionnaire along with information about the Group. This questionnaire will provide us with useful information about you, your family, your assets, your business, and most importantly your overall planning goals. For this reason, we ask that you return the completed questionnaire to us at least three (3) days prior to your scheduled appointment. (You may print a copy of the questionnaire by clicking here).
Initial Meeting: At the initial meeting, we will get to know each other, discuss your estate planning and wealth protection goals and the various tools and methods available for achieving those goals, and where appropriate, discuss the tax and business aspects of a potential plan. We will educate you about the law and what would happen in the event of your incapacity or death. We will also answer your questions and address your particular concerns. In many cases a plan recommendation can be made in this initial meeting and if so, an all-inclusive flat fee quote will be given. If at this point you would like to proceed with the estate planning, an engagement letter will be completed. This letter firmly establishes the attorney-client relationship and allows you to transfer confidential materials and information to The Teresa Rhyne Law Group under Attorney-Client Confidentiality. Generally, when an engagement letter is signed, half of the quoted fee is due, with the remainder due when the final documents are prepared.
Subsequent Planning Meeting(s): In some cases, more advanced planning is required and this necessitates further study and discussion, often with the involvement of other advisors (such as your CPA, financial planner and/or money managers), and an additional planning session. This is particularly the case with long-term wealth protection planning, business succession planning and multi-generational planning. In these cases, we will typical have a pre-engagement fee for developing a plan, and such fee will be applied to the ultimate flat fee charged for implementing the plan. When a plan is developed and agreed upon, an engagement letter detailing the plan and the fees will be entered into.
Engagement: Once we have agreed on a plan and you have engaged our services, we will carefully implement the plan and prepare the necessary documents. We will answer your phone calls, respond to your emails and meet with you as necessary to implement your plan, without any separate charges for attorney or staff time. Documents are generally signed in our office where we provide appropriate notary services and witnesses. We maintain electronic copies of your documents and provide you with an organized Wealth Portfolio binder containing your originals. The only additional costs you may incur at this point are those that correspond to legal document filing with government offices and/or officials. Those fees will be billed to you at cost.
Post-Engagement: After your estate planning documents have been signed, we are available to assist you as you may request from time to time for such matters as transferring assets to your trust(s) or other entities, making changes to your plan, updating documents, or acting as your general counsel. These services are generally provided on an hourly fee basis, although certain projects could lend themselves to flat fee rates.
A note on fees: Everybody wants to know what the fees will be. The annoying lawyer answer would be “it depends.” And it does. It’s like asking “what’s a car cost?” Well, which car? There’s a used Yugo and then there’s a Bentley. Somebody has a use and even a need for each of those types of cars. There aren’t any used Yugos on the lot, so to speak, at the Teresa Rhyne Law Group, but we can let you know that a well-prepared, thorough, basic estate plan that includes a will, a trust, a health care directive, and a durable power of attorney starts at $2,000 for a single person. Considering we’re dealing with everything you own and everyone you love, that’s pretty reasonable.