Thank you for your interest in the estate planning service that I offer. I believe I was referred to you by a previous client, or a friend or neighbor of a previous client. Such a referral from or through a satisfied client is the only method I use to obtain new business. Let me tell you about the service that I have offered for now 27 years. Additionally, since 1996, I have focused on providing my clients with the convenience of meeting them in their own homes. This allows us to complete their trust and other documents in one conference. I do this work all over the state. I help people set up a mechanism (in the form of a revocable trust) that will handle their property without court or attorney involvement in the event of their death or incapacity. My goal is to encourage people to go forward with getting wills or trusts prepared or updated. There are three ways that I encourage people to follow through with this. One is by making the procedure convenient. Another is by charging a fee that is extremely reasonable. The third is by drafting a document that does not require further attorney involvement when modifications are made. My fees are much less than what almost every other attorney charges for preparing a similar complete trust package. Experience, low overhead and a desire to help as many people as possible allows me to offer a fee that usually averages between $550 and $750 for this complete service. Some people with larger estates, multiple properties or special circumstances (like children from more than one marriage) will pay a little more. Single folks will pay a little less. Please click on the fee schedule link, which will bring you to a page you can use to calculate your fee. If you are confused by the fee schedule, you can also give me a call and I will ask a few questions which will allow me to determine your fee from this schedule. If the indicated fee is reasonable to you, there are two options you have to accomplish the goal of allowing me to help you put your revocable trust into operation.
Some people, before I even have my conference with them at their home, want to spend time studying the documents I will prepare for them. This will require you to get information to me so that I can get documents (in draft form) to you for your review. You can do this as follows: You can mail me (or fill it out online and return it to me as an attachment) this completed information form. Upon receipt of a payment of ½ of your calculated fee I will send out a draft of the documents and be ready to answer your questions as they arise. Then later, when you are ready, I will meet with you at your home to sign, notarize and otherwise compete all documents in your trust package. I am a notary. There are no additional notary charges.
Some people however, usually because of a time crunch, want me to simply show up at their house or business ready to create the trust and all the other documents. In this manner, the whole thing can be taken care of all at once and in one visit (of between 2 & 3 hours). Payment may be made at that time. I will bring a laptop, a printer, my notary stamp and this will allow me to obtain information, draft, print, prepare quality documents, have you sign them, have signatures notarized and your trust is up and running. I will need for you to supply one additional witness (non-relative over 18 years of age) at the time our conference is concluded (a witness to your signing of your will). We will be busy (I more than you) but I think you will agree that it will be good to get this important matter taken care of, in this most efficient manner.
First, I do want to commend you for even being interested in this subject. I believe it is essential for every individual to have a valid will or trust in place. If you already have a trust it is often a good idea to have it reviewed by an attorney who has the experience to know how your documents can be made to avoid problems in the future. If you have minor children, taking care of property and guardianship matters is a serious stewardship issue. If your children are grown and you own property, your children will "rise and call you blessed" if you have been thoughtful enough to enter into a revocable trust arrangement. It will allow them to avoid months, if not years, of court-imposed requirements regarding the distribution of your estate in the event of your incapacity or death. The ensuing fees and problems of probate are entirely avoidable with a properly funded and updated revocable living trust and this also is a blessing to your children. In my 24 years of estate planning practice I have seen again and again the value of planning ahead. Without this planning, the potential probate fees in even a moderate estate can be astounding. If you are wondering what the fees and costs in a probate of your estate (to your children) might be then this is a rough idea. Remember, probate fees are based on the fair market value of property passing through the system, not the net equity:
Gross value of estate and Gross Potential Probate Fee:
$100,000 estate about $ 9,000
$200,000 estate about $13,000
$300,000 estate about $17,000
$400,000 estate about $21,000
$500,000 estate about $25,000
$600,000 estate about $29,000
$700,000 estate about $33,000
$800,000 estate about $37,000
$900,000 estate about $41,000
$1.0mil about $45,000
If you are preparing a trust for the first time and you prefer to read and study your documents before we meet, a check for half of the fee, as calculated, should be sent with the information form and the response card. If you want to go forward but you are unable to write that check for half the fees quite yet, please give me a call and we will work something out. If you don't really want to think about this until the day the documents are completed at your residence, just give me a call and we will schedule an appointment. I want to meet with you as soon as possible. Payment in full can be made when the documents are completed.
The following are the documents that I prepare in a trust package. All of these documents are tailored to your specific situation:
- The Trust (a revocable living trust)
- Trust Transfer Document
- Durable Power of Attorney (General)
- Advance Directive for Health Care & Durable Power of Attorney
For a detailed description of each of these documents, please click on the Your Revocable Living Trust link above.
If you have any questions about any of these matters or any of these documents, please do not hesitate to give me a call. I am eager to exercise my 26 years of legal experience for you and your family's behalf. All I need you to have ready for me is a copy of a deed to your owned real property (sometimes escrow instructions will provide that information) and a tax bill that will allow me to determine the assessor's parcel number for each piece of real property. I look forward to meeting with you and I will be ready to complete this task at that time.
Dennis L. Watson
Attorney at Law