The Estate Planning Process:
Bonnie works with her estate-planning clients to make the process as smooth and easy as possible.
- Initial Office Appointment. Working with Bonnie to create an estate plan begins with an office appointment. Bonnie gathers information about her clients and answers questions they have about estate planning.
- Document Preparation. Using the information gathered, Bonnie prepares estate planning documents for her client. Bonnie also provides an explanatory cover letter to highlight the essence of the documents.
- Document Review. Once her client has had an opportunity to read the documents and explanation, there is a second meeting with Bonnie to review the documents. In simple situations, this meeting is sometimes handled over the telephone.
- Document Signing. Once the documents are in good order, then the client signs the documents in Bonnie’s office.
- Trust Funding. For clients with a revocable trust, Bonnie always guides the clients through the necessary trust funding process that allows the revocable trust to work to avoid future probate.
- California Real Property. Bonnie makes certain that real property deeds for California property are prepared and recorded as required with a revocable trust.
- Real Property Outside of California. For clients with real estate outside of California, Bonnie coordinates with an outside company to handle the preparation of the necessary deeds for these properties.
- Stocks, Bonds, Cash. Bonnie is knowledgeable about the many financial institutions where clients may hold assets, the major brokerage firms, banks, government agencies, and private planning firms. She coordinates as necessary any paperwork required to hold securities in a revocable trust.
- Retirement Accounts. Bonnie is also knowledgeable about retirement investments. She reviews these accounts with each client to be certain the client has up to date beneficiary designations.
- Wrapping Up. At the end of the estate-planning process, Bonnie has helped the client to organize their financial papers, prepare and finalize estate-planning documents, and hold all the documentation in an orderly notebook.
A frequent client comment after the signing appointment is, “Thank you. You have made this much easier than I thought it would be.”
Updating Existing Documents. Over time, it is important to review your estate plan for any changes or updates. If your children were young when you made your estate plan, once they are grown, you should review your documents for any changes that need to be made. People you have named to act for you may move away or die. Tax laws may change. Assets may change. Look at your documents at least every five (5) years to see if everything is still current. Bonnie has worked with many clients to update documents to be certain the estate plan will continue to work as intended.