- Why Do I Require a Completion Commitment?
- What’s the Process?
- How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost and What Does It Include?
- What Does a Flat Fee Portfolio Include?
- How Much Do The Flat Fee Portfolios Cost?
- How Will I Be Billed?
- Does GCA Accept Credit Cards?
- When Can I Make an Estate Planning Appointment?
- How Can I Pick a Guardian?
- Where is GCA Law Partners?
You waited a long time to call, so let's get your plan done while you're focused on it. A half-done plan provides no legal protection for your family. I only want to work with clients who are committed and focused on the project. Six monthis is more than enough time to get this done. I will charge you hourly for any further time it takes to complete your plan, in addition to the Flat Fee. Why? Well, I think part of what you are hiring me to do is to help you get this done. Starting is great, but finishing is what matters.
Here's a summary of how our process works:
- Download the Getting Started Packet from my website.
- Fill out the Client Questionnaire and the attached spreadsheet, or as much of it as you can. It's common to leave some things blank, but you need to choose guardians before we can meet. The more financial information you can provide at the beginning, the better, but do not let that keep you from getting started. We can add that information when you receive the drafts if necessary.
- To make your first appointment email my paralegal, Susie Granata at firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll send you a link to self-book at a time that works for you. The Initial Appointment takes about 1 and one half hours.
- The Design Confirmation Phone Call is the next step. We will talk by phone to fill in any remaining blanks in your questionnaire.
- Delivery of Summary Documents is the step after that. I will send you a detailed summary of the plan, showing all of the people you've chosen for the various jobs; a diagram of the trust structure; a list of trust assets; and a summary of the distribution of your estate. You will confirm this.
- The Final Signing Appointment. This meeting takes about 90 minutes. I'll walk you through the documents. You'll sign them and learn about how to take care of your estate plan over time - who to give copies to, how to keep it current, and where to keep it safe. We will scan the binder. You will pick the originals up after we scan them along with a thumb drive with .pdfs of your signed documents. I will keep scans of your documents, but no paper copies.
- My Flat Fee Portfolios are designed to provide you with peace of mind, up-front pricing, and followup to assist you in transferring your assets into the trust. It is a way to work together without the meter running, so that you can ask all the questions that you've got without worrying about the cost: Flat Fee for a single person: $4400; Flat Fee for a married couple: $5800. I may adjust this after we meet if your project exceeds the usual scope.
- If your project does not qualify for my Flat Fee program, I charge on an hourly basis, and my rate is $475/hour. I prefer to work on a Flat Fee basis, and know (from experience) that you do, too.
- All of my Trust Portfolios include a Living Trust, Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, an Advance Health Care Directive, a Certification of Trust, and an Authorization for the Release of Confidential Health Care Information. All Trust Portfolios include the transfer of your residence into the trust. I bill $ 500/deed for additional California properties. I do not prepare deeds for out-of-state properties but can refer you to a third party company that can assist you with that.
Both Flat Fee Portfolios include the following:
- All the documents you need for a comprehensive plan: a Living Trust, Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, an Advance Health Care Directive, a Certification of Trust, and an Authorization for the Release of Confidential Health Care Information.
- Flat Fees: I have developed my Flat Fee process over many years to ensure efficient completion of your estate plan, and the work to be done in that process is reflected in in the Flat Fee. Additional fees, billed hourly, will apply if your needs exceed the sceop of services covered by my Flat Fee, or if you choose to work with me under a different process. The Flat Fee process includes an initial planning meeting; a design confirmation phone call; the delivery of summary documents for your review; and a signing meeting.
- Transfer of your residence into your trust.
- The "Peace of Mind" Portfolio is for a single person and costs $4400.
- The "Maximize Your Estate" Portfolio is for a couple and costs $5800 for a basic plan for a married couple with an estate under $12-15 million dollars. This plan works for the majority of my new clients.
- The "Customized Flat Fee" Portfolio For higher net worth estates, for those who want to leave their assets in lifetime trusts for children, for couples with non-citizen spouses, children with special needs, or those with vacation homes that they want to leave in trust, there are additional Flat Fee modules in addition to this base portfolio price. We will discuss this at your first meeting and you will not sign an engagement letter until the Flat Fee for your plan is determined and you agree with it. (Don't worry, we'll figure that out together.)
I require payment of the Flat Fee upon signing the Engagement Letter. For hourly work, I require a retainer equal to the estimated fee upon signing the Engagement Letter. Your payment is held in GCA's trust fund. I release 25% of the fee after our initial meeting; 25% after the design confirmation; 25% after delivery of summary documents; 25% upon signing. Why do I collect the entire fee up front? I do this to get you to commit to finishing your plan, to simplify billing and because if you do not finish your plan within 6 months from when I send you the drafts, any further work required to finish your plan is billed on an hourly basis, and your 20% deposit will be returned to you.
Nope. Sorry. We accept cash, checks, or wire transfers.
To make an appointment call my paralegal, Susie Granata, at (650) 237-7218 or email her at email@example.com. I limit my availability so that I can offer my current clients my full attention. If you can't find a time that works for you, contact Susie. I maintain a waiting list as well for people who would like to come in earlier, in case I have a cancellation.
That can be the most difficult part of estate planning. I can't tell you exactly who to pick, but if you download the article Picking Guardians from the Getting Started page, I hope it helps you find someone.
Our Office is at 2570 West El Camino Real, Suite 400, Mountain View, California. That's near the corner of San Antonio and El Camino. There's plenty of parking. There's a map and directions on the website.