FRISSE & BREWSTER LAW OFFICES LLC IS CLOSING.
GENERAL MEMORANDUM TO ALL CURRENT CLIENTS AND FRIENDS OF FRISSE & BREWSTER LAW OFFICES
For over 25 years, Frisse & Brewster Law Offices has offered counsel, representation and education for clients and friends throughout East Central Illinois and West Central Indiana. We’ve always tried to present information to improve their ability to plan, and increase the quality of and confidence in their individual estate and business and other planning situations. It’s been a great run. But with considerable regret, we are announcing that Rick Brewster (age 67) and Dave Frisse (age 70) are retiring, and the firm closing.
We thank you for the many kindnesses our clients, friends and professional peers have offered us over the years. Any successes we’ve had, and good we have done, were the result of the clients and professionals we’ve been lucky enough to work with. We thank you.
We are in the process of sending letters to our clients from recent years and are contacting everyone whose Will we have in our Bank Lock Box. If you haven’t received a letter, please contact us at 812-234-2777 or 217-465-1234 as soon as possible.
We also have available, on request, a memorandum to help you decide how to select a new attorney. Just call one of our offices or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the request.
As we go through this process, our priorities are as follows:
- Completing any and all current engagements we can during 2019.
- We will tell each current client whether we can do so.
- If not, then you’ll need to hire other counsel.
- There will be a few matters that, because of Court or Administrative Hearing requirements, cannot be closed before sometime in the first quarter of 2020. We’ll let you know if you are in this situation.
- Helping other clients with pending matters switch to other counsel.
- Clients whose cases we cannot complete will have to select other counsel to finish current projects. We will help coordinate those transfers.
- If you think you need something, IMMEDIATELY schedule a call with your attorney (our staff can make the appointment) so we can assess your needs and our ability to meet them.
- Court matters. If your project involves a court proceeding, please have your new attorney contact us. The courts require we and your new counsel ask for approval of the substitution. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS.
- No New Clients. We will generally not accept any new clients except in collaboration with our current Associate’s new firm.
HOW LONG WILL WE BE IN PRACTICE? Through December 31, 2019. There may be, for reasons outside our direct control, some projects we (particularly Rick) will continue to work on during the first quarter of 2020, but these will be few. We may be more difficult to reach after Christmas, 2019.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH YOUR CURRENT WORK PROJECT?
WHERE WE THINK IT NEEDED, WE WILL SEND YOU A SEPARATE SUMMARY OF OUR WORK ON YOUR CURRENT PROJECT. We hope to have personal contact with as many of our current clients as possible. In most cases, however, the file materials and documents you already have in hand contain everything your new attorney will need to carry on. Coupled with the return of relevant portions of our file relating to your case, there should not be anything to worry about.
Our highest goal is to finish our current work for you before the end of the year. We can only do this if you provide us with information, cooperation and flexibility in scheduling. If we see we won’t be able to finish a project (and we already have identified some) we will contact the affected clients ourselves and assist in transfer of responsibility to a different attorney. And the passage of time will identify other projects that we cannot finish.
We know that there are some Estate Administrations, court proceedings and pending Medicaid cases (mostly in Indiana) that cannot be closed by year end. Those are the cases that we’ll have to decide, with the affected client, whether we see through an end in 2020, or coordinate transfer of responsibility to another attorney. We will not as a firm be responsible for any matter after the end of the first quarter of 2020.
HOW LONG WILL WE ACCEPT NEW REQUESTS FOR SERVICE FROM OUR EXISTING CLIENTS OR NEW PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS?
We can no longer accept such requests unless David Hamilton’s new firm (the Wilkinson Law, based in Terre Haute, Indiana) agrees to accept responsibility for the engagement after January 1, 2020. Please note the period between Dec. 20 and 31st tends to be a difficult period within which to finish projects.
HOW LONG WILL OUR NON-LAWYER STAFF BE AVAILABLE?
Our Illinois and Indiana teams will have the opportunity to stay through December 31, 2019 to help finish current client projects. After that, a reduced staff is likely.
BONNIE HIGGINBOTHAM of our Illinois Team has agreed to stay as long as needed into 2020.
KRISTA KRABEL, our Illinois Trust Settlement, Business and Funding Coordinator will begin work in the Trust Department at Prospect Bank in Paris, Illinois in early January. We wish her well. Those of our clients who utilize Prospect Bank as a Trustee in their plans may well benefit from Krista’s expertise and personal relationships.
Several of our Terre Haute Staff are joining Terre Haute law firms. For others, plans are still in the works. We are supporting their efforts to find new employers who will, like you, appreciate their caring, talents and commitment to taking care of clients.
WHAT ABOUT THE ATTORNEYS WHO WORKED WITH FBLO?
The two younger attorneys with whom we worked are available to take on appropriate cases and clients from our firm.
KAYE DENT worked with us as an attorney for eight years in Illinois. She lives in Effingham, Illinois and several months ago decided to join her husband in his law practice there. DENT LAW OFFICES provides an array of legal services, and Kaye continues to successfully practice in the areas of Nursing Home Asset Protection (in Illinois), Estate Planning and dealing with the legal consequences of disability and death. She is an excellent attorney with OVER 30 years’ experience. She understands how our practice operated and interacted with client families. Kaye does have periodic office hours in Paris, and still employs KAREN WEBSTER of Chrisman, Illinois as her assistant.
DAVID HAMILTON, a lifelong Paris resident, has worked closely with Dave Frisse in estate planning, death administration and business matters for the last two years. After January 1, 2020, he will be joining the Wilkinson Law Office based in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Wilkinson firm offers a broad array of legal services, including those in the areas in which we practiced. Although details are still being worked out, we believe they will be meeting with clients in our Paris office. David and several of their other attorneys are licensed in both Illinois and Indiana.
WHO SHOULD BE MY NEW ATTORNEY?
The most important thing for you to remember is this: You have always had the right to work with the attorney of your choice. You continue to have that right. It has been our good fortune that you chose us in the past. While we can make recommendations, they are in no way guarantees. The relationship you and we have created together has been one of the rewards of our life work. We want to see you and yours taken care of and your needs met. We will be developing a list of some attorneys we know who might seem to be a good fit for you. While we appreciate the opportunity to offer suggestions if you want them, these are only suggestions. There are some other comments below.
We have a separate document with some suggestions and things to think about when selecting a new attorney. Just call our office and we’ll mail or email it to you. We can make SUGGESTIONS, but that is no substitute for your choice.
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR FILE?
Your file data and documents (other than technical work product) belongs to you. We have a duty to ensure anything in our hands remains confidential. We have certain professional and legal requirements to retain some data for at least seven (7) years. We are embarking on a process to separate out what must be returned from what we have to retain or copy. SO, IT ISN’T AS SIMPLE AS JUST HANDING YOU A FOLDER. Your files will be made available to you for pickup ACCORDING TO A SCHEDULE WE WILL ESTABLISH AND MAKE KNOWN TO YOU. FOR UPDATES, CALL OUR LOCAL OFFICE.
We will continue to store our partial copy of your closed file for seven (7) years. After that time, we will destroy our copy of the file unless you notify us in writing immediately that you do not want us to follow this procedure by taking custody of your file at this time.
We cannot give your file to anyone other than you without written direction or authority. If our file involves a parent or relative of yours, we will need to know you are authorized to receive it. We cannot honor undocumented requests to turn files over to people we don’t know. If you go to a new attorney, they know the formalities and can request in writing that we cooperate in their pickup of the file. And we will.
NO FILE WILL BE TRANSFERRED WITHOUT YOUR WRITTEN AUTHORITY AND/OR RECEIPT. NO FILE WILL BE RETURNED EXCEPT AT A SCHEDULED MEETING OR ARRANGED TIME.
We have hundreds of inactive files. They each need to be reviewed.
Unneeded documents will be destroyed. Original documents (we keep few and almost none that are the ONLY originals) that are not public, will be returned. Documents like old DEEDS are not necessary to retain once they have been recorded with appropriate local governmental real estate office. Files not picked up will ultimately be securely destroyed.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR WILL IN THE FIRM’S LOCK BOX?
We would appreciate you calling to make arrangements to pick up these documents. Your Wills are stored at a BANK, not in our office. So please call our office (812-234-2777 or 217-465-1234) to learn when we can have your Will available for pickup. WE PREFER NOT TO SHIP OR MAIL THEM. But you need to make these arrangements and then store them in a safe or lock box of your own, or with your new attorney.
DO I OWE YOU ANYTHING?
If you owe us for services provided, we will invoice you. There is no charge for preparing your file for your pick up or transfer. If you prepaid for something not delivered in full, you will receive a rebate of any part of the service not provided, with an invoice setting out the portion retained as an earned fee.
WHAT ABOUT MY ANNUAL MAINTENANCE PROGRAM?
Our firm will honor all Annual Maintenance Fee Agreements through the end of December. In other words, we will meet and answer questions with affected clients without charge. Whether we provide additional services will be based on the considerations mentioned earlier. While the Annual program relationship made it more likely we would be asked to handle estate and trust administrations, we could never guarantee availability (which can be affected by potential conflicts of interest and, here, by the closing of our firm.)
Those clients whose Maintenance Plan Year (invoiced in June) will be honored through the end of December. We will work with those clients to transfer their Plan administration to another attorney or provide some level of rebate.
ESCROW, TRUST AND REAL ESTATE ACCOUNT FUNDS
Our practice has had less reason to use specialized accounts than many firms. Nevertheless, any such funds in our control will be distributed to the appropriate persons as provided by law and any applicable agreements.
WILL RICK OR DAVE CONTINUE TO SERVE AS MY TRUSTEE OR BE AVAILABLE TO SERVE AS MY SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE?
- Once we cease to practice and discontinue our Professional Liability Insurance, we cannot serve. We will be resigning if presently serving. And if we are named in a document, and presented with the request to serve, it is most likely we will decline.
CONTACT. You will be able to reach Rick or Dave at 217-465-1234 or 812-234-2777 until at least Christmas. The office phone numbers, email addresses and mail addresses will remain effective through at least the end of January 2020. Please be patient in your expectations of a response, particularly after Christmas. If you call, please leave a complete message with your name, contact information and reason for the call.
After that time, you or your new attorney can reach us at P.O. Box 430, Paris, Illinois 61944.
Remember it is important to retain a new attorney immediately. This will be the only way that any time deadlines (limitations) applicable to your case will be protected and your legal rights preserved.