Inkwell, LLC (“Inkwell”) is committed to providing quality legal services to our clients. Legal services provided by Inkwell generally relate to estate planning as described on our website Inkwell.law.
This statement contains Inkwell’s terms and conditions for professional services and use of the website. By proceeding with the services provided by Inkwell, you agree to the terms and conditions contained herein. Any change to the terms and conditions may only be made by mutual written agreement between Inkwell and you.
Inkwell is pleased to have the opportunity to serve you. If you have any questions, or if you would like to discuss these terms and conditions, please do not hesitate to contact Inkwell as provided on our website.
It is important to understand that nothing in this statement constitutes or is to be construed as a representation, promise or guarantee on our part concerning the outcome of any matter or recommended course of action.
The attorney-client relationship between Inkwell and each of our clients (“Client” or “Clients”) is created upon the payment of an initial fee or deposit, and terminated upon completion of the services we are engaged to perform. All such attorney-client relationships will be governed by these terms and conditions (including any subsequent mutually agreed to modifications).
While the majority of matters in our practice are handled by the attorneys at Inkwell, after consulting with Clients, some cases may be referred to attorneys outside of Inkwell when doing so is in the best interests of Clients. In such instances, Inkwell may share a portion of the fee charged by the attorney to which the work is referred in an amount that is proportionate to the consultation and effort provided by Inkwell to Client.
Client understands that laws periodically change and such change that is enacted subsequent to the completion of Client’s estate plan may affect such estate plan. Client acknowledges that, unless Client enrolled in Inkwell’s Maintenance Program, Inkwell is under no ongoing obligation to contact Client regarding subsequent changes in laws, including, but not limited to, transfer tax laws, income tax laws, probate and trust laws, laws affecting creditor protection, and their potential impact on Client’s estate plan.
The counseling and advice offered by Inkwell and its attorneys may at times include various planning strategies, options and alternatives that are based on Client’s unique family situation, financial situation and the state of various laws then in effect. Various planning options and strategies may correspond to varying fees that could be charged by Inkwell. Client acknowledges that the ultimate decision as to which planning strategy to implement is solely Client’s. Additionally, Inkwell and its attorneys are relying on the information provided by Client and that inaccurate and or incomplete information could negatively impact Client’s plan. Client agrees to provide accurate and complete information to Inkwell.
Pursuant to current law, each Client may transfer up to $11,200,000 (indexed to inflation) (the exclusion amount) in assets free of federal estate taxes at death reduced by any taxable gifts made during Client’s lifetime. Assets that are left to beneficiaries two or more generations younger than Client are subject to an additional generation-skipping transfer tax (“GST”), however, Client also has a $11,200,000 (indexed to inflation) exemption from such tax. Both the federal estate and GST taxes are currently taxed at a 40% rate. Should the current estate tax provisions expire as scheduled after 2025, the exemption levels will revert to where they would have been under prior law. Those exemptions are equal to $5,000,000, indexed to inflation from the year 2011. Certain states also impose taxes on transfers made at death, however, Missouri is does not currently have such a tax. Together these federal and state taxes are referred to as “death taxes”. These death taxes and their applicable exemptions could be higher or lower in the future depending on inflation or changes in the law.
Client acknowledges that any estate plan, designed by Client and Inkwell, is based on the assumption that upon Client’s death, Client’s estate will not exceed the exclusion amount and, therefore, will not be subject to death taxes. Client acknowledge that it is not the ongoing responsibility of Inkwell to monitor changes in the death tax laws and the size of Clients’ estate to ensure that death taxes will not be imposed upon Client’s estate. Clients acknowledge that Clients should monitor these and other variables to ensure that Clients’ estate plans comply with Clients’ ongoing wishes and Clients’ estates are not subject to death taxes.
LEGAL FEES & EXPENSES
All legal services that Inkwell performs on Client’s behalf will be completed on a fixed fee basis. The legal work will be defined in the scope and the associated fixed fee will be reflected on a Confirmation of Services and Fees incorporated in and made part of these Terms and Conditions submitted to Client. If Client changes the scope of the project during the course of our representation, Inkwell reserves the right to adjust the corresponding fixed fee.
For estate plan preparation services, Inkwell will quote a fixed fee during the initial no-obligation design session. One half of the associated fixed fee is due prior to Inkwell commencing drafting of the associated legal documents and the remaining balance is due prior to signing of Client’s estate planning documents. Inkwell also offers a no interest payment plan for interested clients. Interested clients should inquire about this option during the design session.
Client acknowledges that after an estate plan has been established, it is critical to ensure that Client’s assets are property titled and the relevant trusts and entitles are properly funded in order to avoid probate and to effectuate the desired goals of the plan. Clients that engage Inkwell to prepare a core estate plan will receive detailed funding instructions relating to how to properly title assets to implement their estate plan. For Clients desiring further funding assistance, Inkwell offers a Funding Program. Inkwell can assist in the funding of Client’s plan based on the financial and asset information provided by the Client prior to and during the design session. Inkwell can provide a fixed fee quote for the funding services at the end of the design session for all or certain assets with which Clients may want assistance. Inkwell is not responsible for the funding of any assets outside the funding of assets included in the Inkwell quote. In order to perform the funding services, Client agrees to provide Inkwell with all information necessary to perform the work in a timely manner. One half of the associated funding fee is due as a fee deposit prior to Inkwell’s commencing the funding services and the remaining balance is due upon the completion of the funding services. Client acknowledges that funding recommendations and services depend on the information provided by the Client and the funding services of Inkwell of assets included in the Inkwell quote cannot be properly completed unless all information requested by Inkwell is provided by the Client.
Pursuant to applicable legal requirements, all fee deposits are placed in a special bank account which bears interest payable to respective state bar accounts. Interest earned on these special trust accounts is used to fund public and charitable programs approved by the respective state supreme courts.
Clients who have obtained a legal plan from Inkwell, are automatically enrolled in Inkwell’s Maintenance Program for one year upon the finalization of Client’s plan. Clients wishing to continue enrollment in the Maintenance Program after the first year must pay an amount totaling the Maintenance Program fees that would have been owed from the date of the finalization of the Client’s core plan. Maintenance Program benefits and fees are listed on the Inkwell website and may be changed from time to time by Inkwell. By enrolling in the Maintenance Program, enrolled Client acknowledges that the fees associated with enrollment in the Maintenance Program will be automatically billed again on each renewal date thereafter unless and until Client cancels enrollment in the Maintenance Program no less than 30 days prior to the renewal date. Enrolled Client will continue to be billed for use of and access to the Maintenance Program unless and until enrolled Client cancels it or Inkwell terminates it. Enrolled Clients must cancel use of and access to the Maintenance Program before the start of a new renewal period to avoid having the next period’s fees billed to the Client’s credit card. All fees and charges associated with the Maintenance Program are prepaid and nonrefundable. Inkwell will not issue a refund for the most recently (or any previously) charged fees associated with the Maintenance Program prior to any such cancellation. All provisions of these Terms which by their nature should survive termination shall survive, including without limitation, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitation of liability. Inkwell will bill any fees due plus applicable tax to the credit card provided by Client. Client acknowledges and agrees that any fees due plus applicable tax will be automatically charged to the credit card provided without further authorization from Client.
CLIENT AGREES THAT CONSISTENT RECURRING SUBSCRIPTION FEES MAY BE CHARGED AUTOMATICALLY BY INKWELL WITHOUT FURTHER AUTHORIZATION FROM CLIENT, UNTIL CLIENT PROVIDES PRIOR NOTICE, RECEIPT OF WHICH HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY INKWELL, THAT CLIENT HAS TERMINATED THIS AUTHORIZATION OR WISHES TO CHANGE APPLICABLE CREDIT CARD INFORMATION. SUCH NOTICE WILL NOT AFFECT CHARGES SUBMITTED BEFORE INKWELL’S RECEIPT OF SUCH TERMINATION.
If any fee is not paid in a timely manner, or Inkwell is unable to process a payment using the credit card information provided for payment by Client, Inkwell reserves the right to suspend or terminate Client’s access to the Maintenance Program benefits.
In matters where Inkwell is representing two parties, such as a married couple, both represented parties consent to a joint representation, despite any inherent conflicts of interest due to, for example, different long-term estate planning objectives regarding children, parents, or others.
As a consequence of a joint representation, all communications between Inkwell and the jointly represented clients will be kept confidential by Inkwell from third parties, unless either represented party authorizes the release of any information. However, under a joint representation, relevant communications from either represented party or spouse are not confidential from the other represented party or spouse.
TERMINATION & CONCLUSION OF REPRESENTATION
Our relationship with Client will be deemed concluded when we have completed our agreed-upon services. In addition, and without limiting the preceding sentence, in the event Inkwell has performed no work for Client on Client’s behalf for one year, Client agrees that Inkwell’s attorney-client relationship with Client will be terminated.
While Inkwell’s client engagements automatically terminate upon the completion of the services Inkwell is engaged to perform, Client may terminate the engagement at any time prior thereto. Client acknowledges that if Client terminates the representation prior to the completion of services, Inkwell is entitled to retain the portion of the deposit that reasonably corresponds to the time and effort devoted to the legal services provided by Inkwell up to that point in time. This includes time attributable to the no-obligation initial consultation. Inkwell reserves the right to terminate an engagement if Client fails to pay the agreed fees in a timely manner, or as may otherwise be permitted or required of Inkwell representatives by applicable rules of professional responsibility.
While Inkwell does not have a litigation practice, it is possible that some of Inkwell’s present or future clients will ask Inkwell to represent them in matters where their interests are adverse to Client’s interests during the time Inkwell is providing legal services to Client. It is also possible that Inkwell will represent, or be asked to represent (in other matters), parties whose interests are adverse to Clients in this or a future matter in which Inkwell represents Client.
Either of these situations would create a conflict of interest under legal ethical rules which would prohibit Inkwell from undertaking the simultaneous representations without the waiver and consent of both clients. Therefore, as a condition to Inkwell undertaking this engagement, Client agrees that Inkwell may represent existing or new clients whose interests are adverse to the Clients in all types of matters, that are not substantially related to the matters in which Inkwell represents the Client. Client further agrees that Inkwell may undertake to represent parties to whom the Client is adverse in matters in which Inkwell represents the Client, provided again that Inkwell do so only in matters that are not substantially related to Inkwell’s work for the Client. The Client may, of course, choose not to waive these conflicts of interest, in which case, Inkwell will decline to undertake the representation for Client. Because the validity and enforceability of these conflict waivers are essential conditions to Inkwell’s willingness to accept this engagement, and Inkwell would not accept the engagement but for these waivers, Client agrees that, if the validity or enforceability of these waivers is ever challenged or revoked, Inkwell may withdraw from representing Client and continue to represent Inkwell’s other clients, even in matters directly adverse to Client.
If conflicts arise between spouses such that it is impossible, in Inkwell’s judgment, for us to perform our obligations in accordance with the terms of our engagement and our ethical obligations as attorneys, Inkwell will withdraw from all further joint representation.
All matters which our clients discuss with us are confidential and will not be shared with any individuals outside of Inkwell without our client’s consent. Married couples may have separate counsel or Inkwell may agree to represent them jointly. If a married couple chooses to have us represent them jointly, then any information provided to us by one spouse is not protected by the attorney-client privilege from disclosure by us to the other spouse.
If Client wishes to appoint individuals to have access to their legal plan documents via their Everplan, Client consents to Inkwell deputizing such individuals and acknowledges that Inkwell is acting on Client’s behalf and at client’s bequest in doing so. Client acknowledges that such individuals may have access to Client’s legal documents and that it is Client’s responsibility to monitor his or her Everplan.
Some materials related to Inkwell’s representation of Client (e.g., administrative records, time and expense reports, personnel materials, and credit and accounting records) belong to Inkwell and will be handled in accordance with Inkwell’s document retention policy. Other materials (i.e., documents provided to us by Client and the final versions of documents that Client retains us to create) are considered client files and belong to Client. Inkwell only maintains electronic versions of client documents. All original legal documentation is to be maintained by Client for safekeeping. Inkwell will retain an electronic version of Client’s file as is required by statute or Inkwell’s document retention policy.
LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
Inkwell is organized as a limited liability company under the laws of the State of Missouri. Every attorney at Inkwell who either directly performs or supervises legal services for Client will have full professional responsibility and legal liability for those services, in addition to Inkwell itself. However, individual attorneys in the firm who have no direct involvement or supervisory role in Client’s representation will not have any personal liability for the legal services performed by others in the firm.
ARBITRATION OF DISPUTE
Should any dispute arise concerning the services provided to Client by Inkwell, as well as any alleged claims for legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract or other claim against Inkwell for any alleged inadequacy of such services, the dispute will be settled by arbitration.
The arbitration shall be heard in the City of St. Louis by a panel of three arbitrators, all of whom must be practicing attorneys in that city, with one arbitrator to be selected by each party and the third to be chosen by the two arbitrators selected by the parties. The arbitrators may establish such rules for the conduct of the arbitration as they may choose, except that there shall be no discovery and any proceedings conducted shall be private and confidential and shall not be disclosed to the public by either the arbitrators or the parties to the arbitration. The award of the arbitrators must be a majority vote and shall be final and binding, not subject to challenge by either party in any court of law. Each party shall bear its own costs of the arbitration and shall pay one-half of the costs of the proceeding.
Inkwell attorneys are encouraged to maintain correspondence in a manner that minimizes traditional paper correspondence and instead promote communications in electronic format, including e-mail and texting. As is the case with traditional paper correspondence, these electronic methods of communication do not necessarily provide a totally secure method of communication and may be copied or held by any computer or device through which it passes.
Unless a client advises an Inkwell representative otherwise, Inkwell intends to communicate via phone (both mobile and landline), e-mail, text message, fax or U.S. mail with all parties to the engagement.
If Client is not able or willing to accept and send electronic communication, please advise an Inkwell representative immediately.
Inkwell makes an effort to return all client phone calls or e-mails within 24 business hours.
SUBMISSIONS TO THIS SITE
Any non-personal communication or material a party submits to this website by electronic mail, upload, or otherwise, including any data, questions, comments, suggestions or the like (“Submissions”) are, and will be treated as, non-confidential and non-proprietary. Anything a party submits or posts becomes the property of Inkwell and Inkwell may use and reproduce such Submission freely, and for any purpose. Specifically, Inkwell is free to use for any purposes whatsoever (including but not limited to the developing, manufacturing, advertising and marketing of products) any ideas, artwork, inventions, developments, suggestions or concepts contained in any Submission a party sends to this website. Any such use is without compensation to the party submitting information. By making a Submission, a party is also warranting that the party own’s the material/content submitted, that it is not defamatory and that Inkwell’s use will not violate any third party’s rights or otherwise place Inkwell in breach of any applicable laws. Inkwell is under no obligation to use the information submitted.
THIRD PARTY SITES
Inkwell attorneys are admitted to practice law in the states listed on their profiles on the website, but not necessarily where you reside nor where some activity in this representation may occur. Client acknowledges and agrees that Client is engaging Inkwell as attorneys licensed in the respective jurisdictions identified on the website for each attorney and that Inkwell will be performing services as attorneys licensed in the jurisdictions represented on the website despite some contact with the places mentioned above.
THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CONTAIN A BINDING ARBITRATION PROVISION WHICH MAY BE ENFORCED BY THE PARTIES.
THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS AS STATED ON INKWELL’S WEBSITE ARE APPROVED.
THE DISCLAIMER AS STATED ON INKWELL’s WEBSITE ARE ACKNOWLEDGED
We appreciate the confidence you have placed in us and look forward to working with you.