Q: In which fields do you specialize?
A: Our practice includes estate planning, special needs planning (3rd party and 1st party special needs trusts), trust administration, probate administration, and limited conservatorships (in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties only).
Q: Which documents are typically included in an “estate plan”?
A: An estate plan typically includes a revocable living trust, pour-over wills, durable powers of attorney, advance health care directives, deeds to transfer real property into the trust, and a couple of other ancillary documents (a general assignment and a certification of trust). For special needs families, we would also include a special needs trust and discuss ABLE accounts and how they are incorporated into the estate plan.
Q: How do you charge fees?
A: We charge a flat fee for estate planning packages. The exact amount depends on the complexity of the planning, and will be discussed and agreed upon at the initial meeting.
Q: Do you offer free initial consultations?
A: We offer a free 15-minute “meet and greet” telephone call for you to get to know our procedures and answer general questions. However, we do not offer legal advice during this time.
Q: How long does the process usually take, and do you do “rush jobs”?
A: The entire process typically takes about 2 months from start to finish. Once we meet with you, it takes us 3-4 weeks to draft all the documents in the estate plan. We then give you 2 weeks to review the drafts, and have a follow-up telephone call. It then takes us about 2 weeks to incorporate any edits and prepare the drafts for the signing appointment.
We prefer not to rush the process, since that can lead to errors and missed intentions. But in emergency situations, if we are provided all of the information we need in a very timely manner, we can complete the process in as little as 4 weeks.
Q: What if we already have an estate plan that needs to be revised?
A: We would typically prepare an “amendment and restatement” of the revocable trust, in which we keep the title of the trust the same but update the insides. We do not do “simple amendments” to a trust drafted by another attorney.
Q: Do you accept legal insurance? Do you review forms created with online programs such as Legal Zoom or Nolo Press?
A: In our experience, each client has a unique life situation that needs to be addressed individually. This does not lend itself to an abbreviated, “cookie-cutter” approach which you typically find in discounted programs, so we do not participate in these types of programs or review their documents.