Consumer Pamphlet: The Revocable Trust in Florida:
If you are a UK resident or UK national you should not assume that because the US and UK both speak the same language that estate planning for your US assets is the same. It in fact varies drastically from that of the UK. To help you navigate this process you should consider instructing a lawyer who is qualified in both the US and UK.
We would be happy to assist you in the preparation of a Florida trust or wills. What we offer which is unique is that our Florida estate planning documents have been particularised for the needs of UK residents. As perhaps the only Florida attorneys in the UK actively representing U.K. residents (some of which are U.S. citizens or whose spouses are U.S. citizens) on the international estate planning and tax implications of holding U.S. assets, it is clear to me that many in the UK are unaware that their estates may be subject to U.S. inheritance tax, hereinafter referred to as “US estate & gift tax”, or they assume that the tax laws of the U.S. are similar to those of the UK. Most are also unaware of the implications of Florida probate law, how long the probate procedure can be, nor how much time and money can be saved with the right estate planning advice.
Opening a New Matter: We will require the following from new clients in order to open a new matter:
a) A copy of this letter of engagement (LOE) signed and dated by all clients
b) A copy of our terms of business (TOB) signed and dated by all clients,
c) Your ticked selection of the document(s) in paragraph 5 below you wish us to prepare on your behalf,
d) Where you are a consumer and not a business, and where you are engaging our services in person at our office, we require you to complete “Form CCR” acknowledging receipt of “Form ONP” and “Form POSR”, all of which should have been received by you with this letter
e) Where you are engaging our services in a place not being our place of business, or solely by means of distance communications (telephone and email for example), we require a completed “Form CCR” acknowledging receipt of “Form DST-OFP”, “Form RTC”, and “Form POSR”, all of which should have been received by you with this letter.
e) Standard Customer Due Diligence: We do require a minimum of two pieces of identification from all our clients, one such document being a passport or photo driving license and the other being a recent proof of address such as an original utility bill, council tax bill, bank statement, NHS letter, HMRC letter, etc., such being no more that three months old”. These can be brought to our first meeting rather than certified copies being posted.
f) Enhanced Due Diligence: Should you be instructing us to prepare a Florida Revocable Living Trust, please note that as the preparation of a revocable living trust is “relevant business” under the UK’s money laundering regulations, we are obliged to carry out the both our standard MLR checks of photo identity and proof of address as well as an online identity search.
Terms of Business: Our standard Terms of Business (in conjunction this letter of engagement) explains the basis on which the firm would carry out all the work necessary in this matter.
3. About Kevin Michael Burke:
"Kevin Michael Burke, Attorney & Notary" (hereinafter referred to as "the Firm") is the firm of Kevin Burke, a sole practitioner lawyer who first practised law as an Ohio lawyer in 1992 and as a Florida lawyer in 1994. In 1999, Kevin requalified as a solicitor in England & Wales and began to practice both UK & USA law from offices at Bennetts Solicitors in Wrington, Bristol. In 2004 Kevin became a Florida civil law notary in order to be able to notarise USA documents from within the UK. In 2008, Kevin became a notary public in England & Wales (2008 to present) to notarise documents around the world. Kevin became a full member of STEP in 2010. He left Bennetts that same year to set up this practice and decided to no longer practice as a solicitor and carry out my English legal services as a notary. In relation to the drafting of English wills and estate planning documents, Kevin is an experienced estate & wills lawyer and was granted full membership of the UK Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) in 2011, and was awarded the STEP Advanced Certificate in Will Preparation (England & Wales) in 2013. Kevin became an IRS Certifying Acceptance Agent in 2019 and can assist in obtaining ITIN numbers for his clients without the need to send original documents to the USA.
4. People responsible: Kevin Burke shall act solely in his capacity as a Florida attorney in carrying out the legal work in this Florida matter. Some of the work may also be carried out by legal assistants under the supervision of Kevin.
5. The Nature of your Instructions and Objectives: You would like us to assist you in preparing either a Florida will or wills, or a Florida revocable living trust.
6. Issues: There are important differences to be aware of with US estate planning, some of which are set out on the attached pages for your future reference:
7. Timescales: We anticipate drafting your proposed will(s) within 10 days to two weeks and may need to return to you for further instructions. Once you have confirmed that the draft will or trust is approved, we can print a copy and arrangements can then be made for signature. Your documents will not be valid unless you have the requisite mental capacity. We will not take any steps to obtain confirmation from others that you have the requisite mental capacity unless you ask us to do so and there will be an additional fee for this service.
8. What are our fees for a will or trust?
Our fees for ordinary legal services in the preparation of Florida wills are based on a flat fee basis.
A Flat Fee Basis:
One half of the relevant fee is due upon instruction, and the other half is due on completion of the relevant document(s). In agreeing to a flat fee basis, the client agrees to pay the firm a non-refundable initial retainer fee in relation to the first payment of one-half of the agreed flat fee.
Such payment is an advance fee to secure a lawyer's services, and remunerates him for loss of the opportunity to accept other employment. The amount of such flat fee is deemed earned on signing this agreement and is paid in exchange for the Firm's agreement to make itself available to client for the duration of the engagement. Further to Florida Bar rules, despite the name of a defined non-refundable fee, a lawyer may later be obligated to refund part, or possibly all of a non-refundable fee, if the legal services are not performed.
Please note that a flat retainer fee is not an option where the client does not disclose all relevant background facts relating to the matter. Please note that no portion of our flat fee will be used to pay necessary costs or disbursements such as recording fees for any deeds, postage of documents, etc.
VAT is not charged on our fees as we are not VAT registered.
10. Documents Requested by You:
Please confirm the documents you are requiring by ticking below:
_____ A single Florida will – (Set Fee: £300 [two payments of £150]) with Statement Disposing of Tangible Personal Property
_____ A set of two Florida mirror wills – (Set Fee: £400 for two mirror wills [two payments of £200]) with Statements Disposing of Tangible Personal Property
_____ A single Florida Durable Power of Attorney – (Set Fee: £170 [two payments of £85.00])
_____ A set of two Florida Durable Powers of Attorney – (Set Fee: £230 for 2 powers of attorney [two payments of £115]) with Statements Disposing of Tangible Personal Property
_____ A single Florida Trust – (Set Fee: £850 [two payments of £425]) with Florida durable power of attorney, Florida living will, Florida Statement Disposing of Tangible Personal Property, etc.
_____ Two Mirror Florida Trusts – (Set Fee: £950 [two payments of £475]) with Florida durable power of attorney, Florida living will, Florida Statement Disposing of Tangible Personal Property, etc.
Because an agreement on fees is a legal contract, if you do not understand any part of the agreement or wish independent legal advice, you should consult a separate lawyer for advice regarding this agreement.
Once you have read this document, which is our Letter of Engagement, and should you decide to proceed, please:
print, sign, and date the attached Terms of Business and this document below, this being our Letter of Engagement.
I/We hereby confirm that I/We have read the contents of this Letter of Engagement and the basis on which American Attorney Services will carry out the preparation of a Florida will / Florida wills for me/us.
Print Name:Print Name:
If you are able to come to this office please arrange an appointment with us, and bring the above requested identity documents.
Once we confirm you matter is fully opened, payment of the retainer described
If we have not met you in person when you instruct us (because, for example, you are signing and returning a posted or emailed copy of our initial letter and terms of business) then this may be classed as a “distance” contract. If we have met with you outside our office then that may be classed as an “off-premises” contract. If you entered into either of these types of contract after 14 June 2014, it is caught by the wide-reaching provisions of the “Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013″ and you will have the right to cancel this contract within 14 calendar days without giving any reason.
Please feel free to call us should you have any questions. We look forward to assisting you in this matter.
/S/ Kevin Burke