How long does it take to make an estate plan?

I would love to help you complete your plan in six weeks or less. 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. Of course, the process can take longer if you have a complicated family situation or are busy with other things. Still, six weeks is my goal.

What's the process?

Here's a summary of how our process works:

  1. Download the Getting Started Packet from my website.
  2. Fill out the Client Questionnaire, 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.
  3. Make your first appointment online or call us at 650/327-0888.
    The Initial Appointment takes about 1 and one half hours, depending on how many questions you've got..
  4. Within two to three weeks, you'll receive draft documents in the mail to review.
  5. Draft review is the next step. You read the documents, then get back to me with your questions and concerns, in person, by phone, or by email. I'm happy to make this step as easy for you as possible.
  6. Once the documents are ready, you'll come back for a Final Signing Appointment. This meeting takes about an hour. You'll sign your final documents 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.

How much does an estate plan cost and what does it include?

  1. I will give you an estimate of the cost of creating your living trust after our first meeting. If you qualify for one of my FLAT FEE PORTFOLIOS, I will let you know at our first meeting, after I've had a chance to get to know you and your objectives. My Flat Fee Portfolios are designed to provide you with peace of mind, no hassle up-front pricing, the ability to make small changes to update your plan over time, one-year of followup to assist you in transferring your assets into the trust, and 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.

  2. If your project does not qualify for my flat fee program, I charge on an hourly basis, and my rate is $440/hour. I charge on an hourly basis for certain complex trusts and restatements. I prefer to work on a Flat Fee basis, and know (from experience) that you do, too. Over the years though, I've found that hourly rates are the fairest, and most transparent way, to bill for certain highly customized estate planning projects. If for any reason you think that you haven't been billed fairly, I ask that you pay only what you think is fair.

  3. All of our Trust Portfolios, either those billed on a Flat Fee or hourly basis, include a Living Trust, Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, an Advance Health Care Directive, a Certification of Trust, an Authorization for the Release of Confidential Health Care Information, and a Property Agreement (if appropriate). All Trust Portfolios include the transfer of your residence and other California real property into the trust.

What Does a Flat Fee Portfolio Include? 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, an Authorization for the Release of Confidential Health Care Information, and a Property Agreement (if appropriate).

  • No-hassle flat fees, billed once you receive your draft documents for all time and expenses incurred while drafting your estate plan, including meetings, phone calls, and emails.  The only thing you'll be billed for outside of our Flat Fee are third-party fees that we've paid on your behalf, such as county recording fees or other court filings.

  • Transfer of all of your California real property into your trust.

  • One hour of attorney consultation time in the year after you've signed your documents to assist with any questions you have about transferring assets into the trust and my staff's time to help you complete the forms necessary to transfer your assets into the trust.

How Much Do The Flat Fee Portfolios Cost?

  • The "Peace of Mind" Portfolio is for a single person and costs $3600.

  • The "Maximize Your Estate" Portfolio is for a couple and costs $5000 for a basic plan for a married couple with an estate under $6-8 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.)

How will I be billed?

Finch Montgomery Wright LLP bills hourly clients on a monthly basis. Our Flat Fee clients will receive a bill for the total portfolio cost when they receive their draft documents.

Does Finch Montgomery Wright accept credit cards?

Yes, we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

When Can I Make an Estate Planning Appointment?

The best way to see what's available is to use my online appointment calendar--I try my best to keep it up to date and it will show you what's available for any given day. If you can't find a convenient time, call Corinne Taylor at 650/327-0888 and we'll figure out a way to meet. I can meet with you in San Jose, upon request, as well. 

How Can Make an Appointment?

Click on Make An Appointment to go directly to my calendar. I know it's hard to get this kind of work done during the week.  Limited Saturday appointments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

What If I'm not quite ready to get started yet?

If you'd like to meet me, you can book a complimentary 1/2 hour Estate Planning Strategy Session to discuss how we would work together to create a comprehensive estate plan for you. This is not a substantive meeting (that's a real appointment!), this meeting is just a way for us to meet, and for you to ask me general questions about the process, and to find out more about me. (You can book this appt online or over the phone, on a time-available basis). If time permits, you can decide at the end of that first 1/2 hour to get started and we can get right to work.

How Can I Pick a Guardian?

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.

Where Is Finch Montgomery Wright?

Our Main Office is at 350 Cambridge Avenue, Suite 175, Palo Alto. That is one block north of the corner of California Avenue and Birch Street. There's a map and directions on the website.