Terms of Engagement

The “Terms of Engagement” and conditions of all attorney/client relationships with “you” (the Client) and Estate Planning Law Group are as follows:

  1. Legal Investment.  We have provided you or will provide you with a written Quote before performing legal services on your behalf.  We may provide a Quote by email, by Legal Investment Menu & Invoice, by diagram, or by a written list of recommended legal services on your behalf.  Your initial retainer check or payment, the Quote, and the most recent version of the Integrity Agreement, are all incorporated in and made part of these Terms of Engagement as up-dated from time to time, and  collectively constitute the attorney-client agreement between you and the attorneys of Estate Planning Law Group PLLC (collectively “the Firm”).  There may be additional costs and hourly based fees for services rendered.

  2. Engagement.   Providing information to us, meeting with us, visiting our website, or discussing and answering your questions do not establish an attorney/client relationship. There is no attorney/client relationship between you and the Firm unless and until you retain and pay the Firm and the Firm has accepted the engagement.   The Firm becomes your attorney and you become a client of the Firm only pursuant to the terms and conditions of these Terms of Engagement, and only if you engage or retain the Firm, and the Firm accepts such engagement.  Any payment you make to the firm constitutes your consent to and acceptance of these Terms of Engagement.  The Firm reserves the right at any time to decline to accept all or any part of any engagement and/or retainer.

  3. Scope of Engagement.  The Terms of Engagement as set forth herein apply to all legal services provided by the Firm and to all attorney/Client relationships between the Firm and its clients.  Although you may need other legal services, the scope of our engagement is limited to only those items that you have authorized and paid for as set forth in such Quote. Future or alternative matters which may have been discussed or indicated on the diagram are not within the scope of engagement. We are not providing legal advice to you regarding this agreement.

    1. Optional and Adjusted Items. Each item recommended or set forth in any Quote is optional, and you may opt to proceed with all or only some or none of the items. The itemized detail of each matter in any Quote is illustrative only and we may modify or adjust your particular documents during the course of implementation to fit your particular needs or situation. The actual documents we prepare for you and that you sign will control over the itemized detail listed in any Quote.  All Quotes and recommendations we provide represent our understanding of what you wish and expect.  It is your duty to make us aware of any variances between any Quote and your wishes or expectations.

  4. Jurisdiction. One or more of the attorneys of the Firm are members of the Arizona Bar, the American Bar Association, and admitted to practice law in Arizona, the United States District Court, and before the IRS. Such jurisdictions are subject to change from time-to-time. By its nature, the services we render are often multi-state, interstate, portable, and/or jurisdiction independent in nature.  For example, and not by way of limitation, we may form trusts and business entities to be effective in many different locations without ever practicing law in such jurisdictions, but unless authorized to do so by local law and engaged for such purpose we do not and will not represent such entities in any judicial proceedings occurring in such jurisdictions. The attorneys of the Firm may accept clients domiciled throughout the United States and other areas of the world for purposes of legal planning that is based primarily on United States Federal Law and/or the laws of any other jurisdictions where such attorneys are authorized to practice, and/or that is not dependent upon local law or forum. To the extent that local law in a jurisdiction where such attorneys are not authorized to practice is required or involved in such planning, the Firm may on a case-by-case basis engage, associate, or consult with legal counsel licensed to practice in other jurisdictions. The attorneys of the Firm do not appear or practice in any court, legal forum or jurisdiction in which they are not licensed to practice law.  We advise you to obtain qualified independent legal counsel for matters requiring representation in jurisdictions where attorneys of the firm are not licensed to practice.

  5. Conflicts. The Firm represents a diverse array of individuals and entities, and these clients may have matters in conflict with you. We will represent you on the basis that our representation of you will not preclude us from representing other clients, including but not limited to clients adverse to you. We are not aware of any representations adverse to you. However, given the nature of our practice, we are not able to identify conflicts among our clients with any specificity. We will not, under any circumstances, represent any client adverse to you in the matter that is the subject of this representation. If you are establishing or have already established business or trust entities, you consent to have us serve as legal counsel for both you individually and for such business and trust entities. If you are married, or an unmarried couple, you are both engaging us and you each consent to our representation of both of you unless we have made a specific written communication stating otherwise. You acknowledge and represent that there are no conflicts which might impair such joint representation. We reserve the right to withdraw as legal counsel if a conflict arises between or among any of these or other jointly represented persons or entities. You have a duty to notify us of any conflicts that affect you. We advise you to obtain independent legal counsel concerning all conflicts of interest.

  6. Authorized Distribution & Disclosure. The Firm maintains the confidentiality of all information you disclose.  Such communications are privileged only if you have engaged us as your attorney pursuant to these Terms of Engagement.  In order to coordinate and implement your legal plan, you authorize us to communicate with and provide documents to your advisors, fiduciaries and family members.  Couples jointly represented each authorize us to fully disclose to both of them any information we receive from either one of them. Your advisors and fiduciaries have their own independent duty to maintain the confidentiality of such communications.  Documents we prepare for the purpose of communicating with third parties on your behalf do not waive the attorney client privilege. To the maximum extent permitted by law, our communications on your behalf are 1) between us as your attorneys and your advisors and fiduciaries as your agents, 2) reasonably necessary to facilitate communication with you concerning the legal services we are providing, and 3) subject to the attorney/client privilege. You authorize us to communicate with third parties on your behalf and as your agent as we determine is in your best interests and as may be required by law. You may limit or opt out of any communication set forth in these Terms of Engagement by giving us written notice, and it is your affirmative duty to notify us in writing if you wish to do so.

  7. On-Line Privacy.  Your on-line privacy is important to us.  Protecting your privacy requires you to take action.

    1. You consent to public disclosure of all comments, likes, links, reviews, or other data or information that you or anyone acting on your behalf posts on this website or on third-party websites which, by its terms or context, is intended or available for public viewing.

    2. Unless you expressly advise us otherwise in writing, you authorize us to up-load your documents in electronic document format of our choosing to our web servers and/or “the cloud” or similar technology in order to provide you and your advisors and fiduciaries with internet access.  You also authorize us to communicate with you, your advisors, family members and fiduciaries, electronically by email, text or otherwise.

    3. Although we do not deliberately disclose your private information, we advise and warn you that the internet is inherently vulnerable to unlawful hacking of private information, and that historically even highly secured information has been unlawfully violated. We do NOT encrypt or take other such measures to prevent the interception or hacking of electronic communications.  We do NOT monitor or guarantee what internet service providers and/or other third-parties may or may not do with respect to electronically transmitted information. If you share links or passwords, you may be making your information vulnerable.  It is your duty, not the Firm’s, to protect your online privacy and information.  If you wish us not to use the internet for communication and document sharing, it is your duty to so advise us.

    4. We provide a Client Portal that we believe is a secure means of communications based on the representations of third party service providers.  We do not possess the technical expertise to independently verify or test such representations.  Information transmitted by any other means will not have the protection provided by the Client Portal.

    5. From time to time, we may also facilitate electronic signatures of certain documents by you and others associated with you.  You are not required to use any electronic signature service.  If you choose to use any such electronic signature service, you consent to the terms and conditions of such service provider, and agree to read and download all applicable documents.  You may choose not to use such electronic signature services by requesting paper copies or originals of applicable documents for signature.

  8. Relationships with Other Professionals. You have a right to obtain independent financial, investment, insurance, accounting, legal, and other professional services through any qualified advisor of your choice. The attorneys of the Firm have referral relationships with many such advisors. The Firm does not pay referral fees or share legal fees with any non-attorney. Nevertheless, the Firm or its attorneys may engage such advisors for their own benefit or to assist with your plan and compensate them accordingly. Such advisors may be clients of the Firm and pay the Firm legal fees for services rendered on their behalf. Such advisors and the Firm may each collect fees on behalf of the other. The attorneys of the Firm may assist you in engaging such advisors, and may advise you from a legal perspective concerning related products or services.  However, the Firm is not responsible for the products and services such advisors provide. Likewise, such advisors may assist you in engaging the Firm, and may provide input from the perspective of their profession concerning details of your legal plan.  However, such advisors are not responsible for legal services the Firm provides. The scope of our engagement is limited to legal matters.  We believe that such professional relationships do not result in any conflict of interest that materially impairs our representation of you.  Nevertheless, you have a right to and are hereby advised to seek independent legal advice concerning the fairness and reasonableness of such professional relationships, and unless you notify us otherwise in writing, you consent to such professional relationships.

  9. Disclosure of Financial Interests. The scope of our engagement is not related to and does not include services provided pursuant to any non-attorney professional license, employment, or volunteer position held by an attorney or family member of an attorney. Members of the Firm may directly or indirectly receive compensation either personally or by virtue of their family relationships as a result of transactions involving such licenses or employment. Such compensation is not part of or an offset against your legal fees. The cost of such services is determined by third parties, and will not be increased or decreased as a result of any family or professional relationships with members of the Firm. You have a right to and are hereby advised to seek independent legal advice concerning the fairness and reasonableness of such relationships, and unless you notify us otherwise in writing you consent to such professional relationships, including but not limited to the following:

    1. No member of the Firm is licensed to sell securities or insurance. However, Janel Durfee, the wife of attorney Richard E. Durfee Jr., is licensed to sell insurance and is an Investment Advisor Representative through Wealth Planning Strategies, LLC with Wealth Resources Investment Advisors, LLC, Registered Investment Advisor.

    2. Attorney Richard E. Durfee Jr. is a past President and Chairman of Legacy Global Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 tax-exempt public charity, qualified to receive tax deductible gifts, make charitable grants, and carry out charitable initiatives pursuant to its philanthropic mission.  He now has emeritus status with Legacy Global Foundation.

    3. The attorneys and staff of the Firm may make voluntary contributions of time and resources to various tax exempt charitable organizations of their own choosing, and from time to time may encourage, request or recommend that you do the same.

  10. Your Action Items. You are responsible for disclosing to us all information necessary and appropriate to implement your legal planning.  You are responsible on an ongoing basis to provide us with your accurate and up-to-date contact information.  If we do not have your current contact information, we cannot communicate with you. Incorrect or incomplete information may result in incorrect or incomplete legal documents. Much of the legal planning we do will require you to take action. This may include funding trusts and business entities, transferring properties or assets, accounting, tax reporting, and other action. If you do not complete your action items, or if you do not use trusts and business entities correctly, the benefits from your legal planning may be diluted or lost.  It is your duty to make us aware of legal issues or concerns that affect your planning.  It is your duty to inform us if there is any aspect of these Terms of Engagement which you do not accept at any time during our attorney/client relationship.

  11. Terms & Retainer. The terms to retain or engage us are one-half of the Legal Investment to get started and the balance when we deliver the documents. Your payment constitutes agreement and consent to all the terms and conditions of our engagement as set forth in this Terms of Engagement and incorporated documents. On a case-by-case basis, we may work out a payment plan. Other terms on our regular billing statements apply. There may be additional conditional credits or charges as indicated in the Quote. Otherwise, the Legal Investment indicated in the Quote is net of all credits and discounts. No other discounts or credits apply. Interest of 2% per month will be assessed for balance remaining unpaid after delivery of the documents or notice that the documents are ready for signature, whether or not you sign them or return them to us. Failing to pay fees when due may result in delay or non-implementation of your plan. We will not record deeds, file and publish entities, or deliver signed documents unless and until the balance due is paid. You may pay for costs and fees by providing us with appropriate debit or credit card information.  Providing such information to us constitutes your consent and authorization to make charges against such card.  Additional charges may be added for payment by debit or credit card.  There will be additional charges to update documents if they are not signed within 30 days from when they are delivered or notice is given that they are ready for signature.

  12. Non-Refundable & Refundable. Because we must set aside time and resources to serve you when you engage us, and because we will commence immediately with your project upon receipt of your retainer, the initial retainer for fixed fee matters is earned and non-refundable upon receipt even if you choose not to complete the project. Any retainer for pre-paid hourly matters, is deposited in our IOLTA Trust Account (the interest on which goes to the Arizona Bar Foundation) and billed against as incurred. Any unused amount of such fees is refundable upon completion of the services.

  13. Tax Deductions. To the extent that your legal work relates to tax and business advice, your accountant or tax preparer may be able to treat all or some of it as an income tax deduction. Note on your check memo “Tax Advice” or “Tax and Business Advice.”  This is not tax advice, and you should consult with your tax preparer regarding any such deduction.

  14. Open File Period. If you do not engage us within 30 DAYS of any Quote, we will close your file or close that particular matter. We may still be available to help you in the future, but only if you engage us . If you do not engage us, we strongly recommend that you hire other legal counsel.  If you have an ongoing attorney/client relationship with the Firm, if you do not authorize us to proceed within 30 Days of a Quote or recommended action, we will close the matter Quoted and take no action on your behalf in that regard without necessarily terminating the attorney/client relationship.

  15. Recurring and Subscription Services.  Certain services may be periodically recurring and billed accordingly.  For example, and not by way of limitation, there may be annual charges for serving as Registered or Statutory Agent for business entities, filing annual reports, or for holding certain client property such as your “Safe File”.  Such services are optional, and may be initiated or terminated at any time.


  17. Costs and Additional Services. You are responsible for all out-of-pocket costs. All costs and services not included in the listed item detail will be billed as incurred at our regular hourly and fixed fee rates.  Itemized charges for costs are estimates only, and additional out-of-pocket costs, if any, will be billed as incurred. Charges for out-of-pocket costs may include payments to third-parties as well as in-house costs, postage, copies, and nominal handling charges. Document processing, filings and recordings after the thirty day review period will be billed at the applicable staff rate (unless the delay is due to our office).

  18. Rates. Our current hourly rates are:

    1. Partners $400 – $600/Hour

    2. Associates $180 – $350/Hour

    3. Paralegals $80 – $150/Hour

    4. Legal Secretaries and Clerical Staff $60 – $80/Hour

  19. Client Property & Funds.  From time to time the Firm may be in possession of your property including but not limited to certain original signed documents and/or funds.  The possession of such property may be separately governed by specific agreement or instructions.  You may request the return or other disposition of such property at any time in writing.  The Firm may, at its discretion, return such property to you or convey such property to a third-party on your behalf including but not limited to another law firm or a family member of yours.  The Firm may but is not required to decline to return or convey such property if the Firm reasonably believes you are acting under duress or undue influence, or that you or other persons may be injured or harmed as a result.  Nevertheless, the Firm has no duty to investigate or determine such potential harm to you or others in following your instructions regarding disposition of your property.  The Firm is not responsible for any such property once it is delivered to you or to a third-party on your behalf.  The Firm reserves the right to decline taking or retaining possession at any time of any property that may belong to you.  Certain documents prepared for and signed by you become your property only when all associated fees for such documents have been paid.  For example, and not by way of limitation, a Trust document prepared for and executed by you becomes your property when the fees for the preparation of such Trust document have been paid.  All such documents prepared in connection with you that have not been paid for and/or signed by you, remain the property of the Firm.

    1. Your Records.  All letters, emails, diagrams, and all other documents of any kind provided to you during the course of representation may be the only copy you receive and should be retained by you if you wish to have a record.  We do not assume the duty of keeping copies of your documents, communications or data.  In the due course of representing you and/or upon conclusion of such representation, all work product, notes, data, information, diagrams, internal memos, calendars, documents, drafts, communications, emails, letters, billing statements, time records, and other such items of any kind or nature produced or prepared by the Firm in connection with you may be updated, modified, overwritten, archived, deleted, destroyed, or otherwise rendered unavailable or inaccessible for future retrieval or communication at any time without notice.

    2. Return or Destruction of Property.  Upon termination of the attorney/client relationship, you are entitled to all of your property then in our possession.  Return of such property upon termination of the attorney/client relationship is hereby tendered and may be claimed upon written request. Documents that remain unclaimed more than 30 days after terminating the attorney/client relationship may be destroyed.

    3. Disbursement of Client Funds.  Client funds in our possession will be deposited in our law firm IOLTA Trust Account.  Such funds will be disbursed only on the following terms and conditions:

      1. All fees and costs incurred relative to such funds will be paid out of such funds before disbursement.

      2. All deposits will be held for a minimum of thirty days and such additional periods of time as necessary to verify that the funds are available.  No disbursements will be made on funds that we have any reason to believe are not or may not be available.

      3. All parties entitled to the funds must sign written instructions directing how the funds are to be disbursed.  We may require appropriate proof of claims and proof of identity for parties asserting an interest in such funds.  With married couples, the written instruction of only one spouse is required unless we have notice of a conflict between such spouses as set forth above.

      4. A party entitled to funds may direct disbursement to a third party for or on their behalf.

      5. All parties receiving or entitled to funds are solely responsible for all applicable taxes and tax reporting relative to such funds.  The Firm is not responsible for any tax or tax reporting for client funds in its possession or disbursed.

      6. In the event of a conflict among parties entitled to or claiming an interest in the funds, we will retain all disputed amounts until there is a written settlement, a determination through alternative dispute resolution, or a court order directing how the funds are to be disbursed.  We reserve the right to unilaterally disburse contested funds to a third party escrow agent or another disinterested law firm which will hold such funds pending resolution of such disputes.

      7. We reserve the right (but not the duty) to refuse disbursement of funds if we have reasonable cause to believe they are or will be used to harm another person, for an unlawful purpose, money laundering, violation of any court order, contrary to statute or code of any applicable governing authority, or if disbursement would constitute a conflict of interest or otherwise violate the Ethical Rules governing attorney conduct.

      8. Unclaimed funds may be retained while reasonable efforts are made to identify the parties entitled thereto and arrange disbursement.  Otherwise, unclaimed funds, net of applicable fees and costs, may be disbursed to appropriate government authorities as required by law.

      9. For deposit of funds payable to a deceased person or the estate of a deceased person, the total amount of such funds must be below the applicable “small estate” threshold for probate or otherwise not subject to probate.

  20. Dispute Resolution. We desire to resolve all issues regarding fees and/or services quickly and amicably. If you dispute or question any charge on an invoice or billing statement, you must notify us within thirty days of the date of the invoice or billing statement and give us the opportunity to respond. Your silence means you accept the charge. If you have any dispute or concern regarding services rendered, you must notify us within thirty days of such services and give us the opportunity to respond. Your silence means the services are acceptable to you. You agree to resolve all disputes concerning fees and services including but not limited to claims for professional negligence or malpractice exclusively in accordance with the terms of the most recent version of the Integrity Agreement which may be provided in association with your planning.

  21. Duration and Termination.  Once engaged, we will serve as your legal counsel on an ongoing basis subject to these Terms of Engagement as modified from time to time until either party terminates the attorney/client relationship.  Either party may terminate the attorney/client relationship at any time.  To the maximum extent permitted by law, the duties of confidentiality and the attorney/client privilege survive termination.  Your actions that constitute termination of the attorney/client relationship include but are not limited to: entering into a transaction or relationship that results in a conflict of interest or otherwise prevents us from serving as your legal counsel, failure to communicate with us, failure or refusal to follow our advice or recommendations, failure pay all fees and costs when due, any other act or failure to act that indicates your intent to terminate or unwillingness to continue the relationship.

  22. Governing Law.   This agreement is subject to the laws of the State of Arizona.

  23. No Side Agreements.  These Terms of Engagement are the entire agreement and there are no side agreements unless made in writing and executed by the parties.

  24. Change.  Change is inevitable.  These Terms of Engagement are subject to change at any time without notice in response to changing laws and circumstances.  They are posted online to make them readily available to you as a Client and all potential Clients of the Firm.  It is your duty to review them periodically and each time we render services on your behalf, and to notify us of changes in your expectations, intent, circumstances or needs that bear upon these Terms of Engagement and/or our attorney/client relationship.

  25. Ethical Rules.  The intent and purpose of these Terms of Engagement is to comply with all applicable ethical rules governing the conduct of attorneys to which the Firm and its attorneys are subject.  These Terms of Engagement shall be interpreted and construed consistent with such ethical rules.  If there is any variance between these Terms of Engagement and applicable ethical rules, the ethical rules shall control.