Our Unique Process to Help Clients Create their Estate Plan

In our office we have a fairly well defined process for helping clients create their estate plan.  We constantly review this process & our systems to improve the experience for our clients and to insure that we are delivering state of the art legal assistance.

When a prospective client calls they will speak with my assistant.

She will go over the big picture of our process on the phone.  She will review our fee structure and if ready, she will set the initial appointment with me.

We don’t send anything out in advance and we don’t require anything to be completed in advance.

We do reminder calls the day before an appointment.

At the initial appointment I will ask how can I help, I usually then do a brief overview of what the main planning options are, and if the client(s) is ready to move forward, I will simply start asking a bunch of questions.

At the end of that conversation, I will quote a flat fee within our current ranges of fees and I will set the next – or signing – appointment.

In the meantime – if needed I give a homework sheet to take home to remind clients what more information or answers are needed.

We will mail a confirmation letter and invoice in between appointments.

At the second appointment my assistant will begin this appointment by reviewing asset information and collecting ids for the notary book, then I will personally meet with the client(s) to review the necessary documents, answer questions, make changes, etc.

If all is in order, the documents are signed, that is when they become effective, the client(s) pays and we move into the funding stage – if it is a trust based estate plan.

Our fees are all inclusive – except for recording costs, future deeds and future changes to the documents themselves.

The main part of the process is a two meeting affair.  However, if needed we can (and I have) have 3 or 4 meetings.  Sometimes a phone call in the middle of the main appointments helps.  ALL meetings to create the plan and future “review only” meetings are included in our one flat fee.

A typical appointment for a single individual runs about an hour – maybe 1.25 hours.  For a married couple – we allow two hours & these frequently last 90 minutes or longer.

We actively help clients “fund” their trust – or transfer assets to the trust – this time and effort is included in the one flat fee.

The time between the initial appointment and the “signing” appointment is typically 3 to 5 weeks.

If a client has an urgency (based on travel, health, surgery, etc.) we can deliver much sooner & have even done 24 hour turnaround.  We do not charge a higher fee for rushing & we attempt to assist clients with their deadlines based on my availability.

Because payment is due at the second appointment – we can upon request delay the signing to allow time to “save” towards the payment.  We do take credit cards for your convenience.

This is more or less the big picture of how we help clients create their estate plan.

Or goal is to help a client in the simplest way possible.  We strive to help people move forward to completion once they have begun the process and we try to not overburden anyone.

For more information – or to set an appointment – call the office at 925-447-0134.


  1. Cynthia Kirkland says

    I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with Ms. Thaete, during an extremely stressful period in my life. After losing both parents – she literally held my hand through the laborious process of administering their trusts/estate. She made the process painless and perfectly sensible. I would recommend her services without a doubt for any easy or difficult trust issues that need a thorough and competent attorney, as she.

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