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At The Law Offices of Claude S. Smith, III, we work closely with other professional advisors, including Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioners, investment advisors, financial consultants, insurance professionals, Certified Public Accountants, and tax advisors as part of the estate planning team. We believe the team approach provides our mutual clients with the most comprehensive, realistic and effective estate plan.
Our approach is to provide our clients with a short form questionnaire and welcome kit. We ask our clients to fill out this questionnaire and send it to us prior to the first consultation. This not only facilitates a more productive first meeting, but helps our clients focus on the issues and decisions they must make in order to develop the most effective plan to meet their goals.
At the initial consultation, we provide the client with our general recommendations and a fee quote for the services we will be providing. They will be provided with a retainer agreement which they may sign at the meeting, or take with them for review and signature.
During the implementation phase, there is ongoing communication with the client, which may involve obtaining additional documentation, clarifying goals and information, and discussing options and tradeoffs. We use all appropriate avenues of communication: phone, email, and in-person meetings. We firmly believe that ongoing communication is an essential element of developing an effective plan, and building a life-long relationship with our clients.
We also believe that no client should sign any document without a comprehensive understanding of its content and the ramifications thereof. To that end, we dedicate a significant amount of time to the signing of documents. It allows us to explain each section of the plan, and answer any questions that have come up in the process.
Once documents are signed, we work directly with our clients, or with you, or both, to ensure funding. We also keep our clients informed on a regular basis through our seminar programs and our annual client appreciation reception. Through these regular touch points we keep clients informed about changes in the law that might affect them, and remind them to monitor their plans with regard to major life events.
Every professional organization has different processes, and different methods for interacting with clients. We are happy to work within your processes, or blend our respective methodologies. Our primary goal is to serve the needs of clients and we welcome the opportunity to serve them within the team environment.
Legal problems are extremely stressful, especially when your family, your health, or your freedom are at stake. At this point in time, you may not even be sure what kinds of questions you need to ask a lawyer, but that’s entirely normal. Whether your situation involves family law, estate planning, elder law, a criminal charge, or a personal injury, we will start by giving you all the information you need.
The way we see it, you deserve to get this information directly from an expert. That’s why we make it easy for you to get in touch with your lawyer, and we never ask you to sit down with a paralegal or assistant instead.
As our relationship continues, we will keep you updated about the status of your case every step of the way. Your lawyer will reach out regularly to tell you about any new developments, and he will also be happy to answer any questions you have throughout the process.