Drafting and Updating Your Retainer Agreements
Trusts & Estate’s Magazine
Sandra D. Glazier & Martin M. Shenkman
The practice of estate planning is evolving at a rapid pace. Practitioners should periodically review estate-planning retainer agreements (engagement letters) to update them to reflect new ethics rules,1 changing practices, integration of new technology into their practice and other actors. Given the pace of changes impacting the estate-planning arena, an annual, if not more frequent review, may be merited. But, even that alone won’t suffice. Retainer agreements are only one component of the many ways firms interact with clients, technology and practice. Thus, you should consider many ancillary practice policies, procurements, forms and client communications as part of the same review process.
While we’ll focus on retainer agreement provisions, we’ll also comment on other practice considerations that directly or indirectly affect retainer agreement issues. You’ll have to adapt and modify our comments to your practice. A paperless, cloud-based practice will necessarily have to handle these issues differently from a practice that’s still predominantly based on using yellow pads and Redwelds. A practice that predominantly focuses on a large volume of flat fee, less wealthy clients will have a different emphasis than a boutique firm serving a limited number of ultra-high-net-worth clients seeking a different level of service and relationship.
Read their commentary here.
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