Good Stewardship – Our Mission, Our Ministry
Our mission statement or ministry statement is “Helping people to be good stewards of all that has been entrusted to them.”
When Charles B. Pyke, Jr. first founded our law firm, his father told him “Son, if you take care of your clients, your clients will take care of you.” From that advice Charles and the members of our law firm established our mission statement. Everything that we do within this law firm is intended to fulfill that mission statement of good stewardship. We strive to always stay in alignment with our core values and our mission statement with every contact that we have with our clients and with each other.
One of the major ways we distinguish ourselves from other law firms is through our mission, our people, and our systems.
Fulfilling a firm’s mission statement is achieved only if the people within the firm have bought into that mission statement. If you check out our online reviews, you’ll see numerous comments and examples reflecting our team’s dedication to client fulfillment.
We have a saying in our firm, “The systems run the business and the people run the systems.” That translates to us having a written step-by-step system of checklists and processes that our law firm goes through when we diagnose and prescribe what estate plan best fits that client’s particular situation. When each estate plan is prepared, and before the client ever sees it, multiple people on our team review various aspects of the plan to ensure that we are fulfilling our firm’s mission statement with that particular plan.
We are not perfect, but we certainly try to be. We believe that this law firm and the service we provide our clients has been entrusted to us for just a little while, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We want to be good stewards of all that has been entrusted to us as well.
It’s All We Do!
Estate planning, elder law, trust and estate administration is our exclusive focus. It’s the area of law in which we practice all day every day. Our law firm has drafted literally thousands of estate plans and has administered thousands of trust and estates. We have decades of experience helping clients with these important issues in their lives. You will be hard-pressed to find a Georgia law firm that has done more of this type of planning than our firm.
We are the Opposite of Most Estate Planning Law Firms
It is a safe assumption that if a law firm has ever drafted a will or a trust for you, you haven’t heard a word from the lawyer who drafted it since the time you left their office. Isn’t that correct? We decided that we were going to be the opposite of that.
What if your law firm maintained a continuing relationship with you? WE DO!!!
So how do we do that? First of all, we don’t charge for phone calls about your estate plan, we offer an optional Annual Maintenance Plan (AMP), every 90 days you receive a customized newsletter from our law firm keeping you informed about issues circulating within the estate planning arena, changes in the law, and prompting thought about what issues you may want to address in your own planning. We regularly provide continuing education workshops to you and your family because we believe education empowers people to make better decisions.
We May Not be a Good Fit
If you are looking for a law firm just to prepare your estate planning documents, we are probably not a good fit. If you are looking for a law firm that is the cheapest, we are probably not a good fit. But if you’re looking for a law firm that can obviously prepare the estate planning documents you need, can assist with issues related to the implementation of that plan in the event of your death or incapacity and which also wants to maintain a continuing relationship with you and your family to serve you in this important area of your life we might be a good fit. Our fees are reasonable, particularly in light of our exclusive focus in this particular area of the law. We are not the most expensive and we are certainly not the least expensive. With respect to fees, we are probably somewhere in the middle for a law firm that practices exclusively in this particular area of the law.
Things Change, but is Anyone Helping you Keep your Estate Plan Current?
Are your personal circumstances different today than they were five years ago? Do you think the law is any different today than it was five years ago? So if the law changes and/or your circumstances change our opinion of what legal documents and provisions within those legal documents may also change. But if your law firm is not making any effort to keep you informed, to stay in touch with you, to prompt you to think on these things, it is very possible that at the time you pass away or experience an incapacity there could be a great disconnect between your circumstances, the law and your estate plan. That is not the moment for you and your family to realize the disconnect.
Most law firm’s never offer a consistent way to help you keep your estate plan current. We offer multiple ways for you to keep your estate plan current, through our continuing education classes throughout the year, quarterly newsletters, and optional Annual Maintenance Program (AMP).
Death or Incapacity – That’s When You Really Need Us!
Having your estate plan in place and kept current gives you peace of mind knowing that you’ve addressed a critically important area of your life. However that’s only part of the peace of mind which you seek. You also need to be confident that in the event of your death or incapacity your law firm has the experience and expertise to lead your family through the process of implementing your plan and to carry out your wishes.
We have an entire department within our law firm that focuses exclusively on helping clients with such issues. Our law firm has administered literally thousands of estates, and while each administration is unique, having been through so many it is a routine procedure for us in a very un-routine disconcerting circumstance for our client. Guiding them through this process is one of our most humbling experiences because it is one of the most difficult times our client’s family will be facing.
One of the educational estate planning workshops that we make available to our clients and their families is titled “What To Do When A Loved One Passes Away.” In that class we encourage our clients to bring their estate plans and their families so we can provide them with an overview of what is involved in the administration process and so they can know what to expect. These classes are always in high demand and our clients thoroughly appreciate the education.
A National Presence
Undoubtedly a client may have family members that live in different states, or perhaps they even have assets in different states. It is important that your law firm have the resources to assist your family in this regard. As a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (www.aaepa.com) our law firm has a wide range of benefits to offer you. For example, we can provide you with access to a nationwide network of qualified estate planning attorneys who can assist you with out-of-state transfers of title, provide help should you move to another state, or simply offer a referral to an out-of-state friend or family member who needs estate planning assistance.
Here is just a sample of some of the other benefits of working with our office:
- FREE unlimited telephone support. Answers to our estate planning clients’ questions are never more than a free telephone call away. We offer free phone calls with staff and paralegals regarding any questions you have about the estate plan we drafted for you. Attorney phone calls are billed at the hourly rate of $350.
- FREE subscription to our quarterly newsletter, where you’ll learn about estate planning topics and other informative subjects relevant to you and your family’s needs.
- FREE Client Seminars. We regularly offer seminars and presentations exclusively for our clients on various estate planning topics.
- FREE one-hour consultation during those difficult days after the death of a loved one. During this meeting, we’ll be available to help guide you through the essential steps you’ll need to undertake in the administration of the Trust. If you need additional support, our services will be available to you or the surviving Trustee at an hourly rate.
- Finally, as a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, our firm has a wide range of benefits to offer you. For example, we can provide you with access to a nationwide network of qualified attorneys who can assist you with out-of-state transfers of title, provide help should you move to another state, or simply offer a referral to an out-of-state friend or family member who needs estate planning help. In addition, the Academy provides its members with substantial legal, technical and practice management support to ensure we provide high quality estate planning service to our clients.
The Annual Maintenance Program (“AMP”) – AMP is designed to help you keep your estate plan current and keep you informed about estate planning matters through an annual confirmation letter verifying the terms of your plan, an optional attorney meeting, periodic newsletters, and exclusive AMP member only seminars. Our law firm has always believed in routine reviews and keeping things current, but we’ve learned that if we leave it up to our clients, they seldom do it! The AMP is a simple, cost effective way for us to help you keep your plan current and you informed. Plus, there are huge benefits to others in your family.
- Married $395 / year
- Single $295 / Year
Annual Maintenance Program (“AMP”)
- All of the “regular client support” plus…
- Free annual Attorney Review Meeting. Each year you can call to schedule a 30 minute meeting with an attorney to review your estate planning documents;
- Free annual “confirmation letter” verifying terms of your estate plan;
- Free changes of the designated trustee, personal representative, agent and/or guardian in your estate planning documents requested without a consultation with an attorney in the Law Firm;
- Free revisions of your estate plan dealing with changes to individual beneficiary names or percentages;
- Gift Certificate for your parents, siblings, adult children or friends (over the age of 18) who are Georgia residents wanting to attend an estate planning seminar presented by the Law Firm and complete an Estate Plan ($205 value);
- 10% discount on the Law Firm’s regular legal fees for any changes to your estate planning documents and deeds not covered under this Agreement;
- Free preparation of annual minutes for corporate entities prepared and maintained by the Law Firm;
- Exclusive AMP events sponsored by the law firm;
- Free tools to assist you in the creation of a “Legacy Letter.” This is an opportunity for you to tell your life story in your own words, to express your beliefs and values and to convey what matters most to your loved ones;
- Free copy of our estate planning book – Estate Planning Basics: 38 Common Questions About Estate Planning;
- Free annual financial check-up with Stewardship Financial Advisors, LLC, a separate and distinct firm from the Law Firm;
- 3 YEAR RULE – if you have been a paying AMP member for 3 consecutive years, there is no charge for any changes to the existing estate plan we created for you, beginning with your 2016 renewal.