After we receive the Retainer, the Office Manager assigns the file to one of our staff members and the drafting process of the documents begins. We normally have the drafts ready to mail to you within 3-4 weeks. If for any reason you needed the documents on a rush basis, we can accommodate you but a rush fee would be included.
Draft documents are presented to me personally for customizing and my approval. Once approved, the drafts are sent to you. Once you receive your drafts you need to confirm some of the more important provisions of your Living Trust such as designated beneficiaries, distributions of your estate, your listed Successor Trustees who will succeed you as a Trustee. Also you need to confirm the Executors in your Will and Agents in your Durable Powers of Attorney. Should changes
be made by you, they should be emailed back to the staff member responsible for your file.
Any changes would be emailed back to you after my approval, for your blessing. Once you are satisfied with your documents, a signing appointment is arranged with the Office Manager. If we are handling your document preparation by telephone, your final documents will be mailed to you for signing before a notary of your choice.
If you are signing in our offices, the documents will be arranged in order in our conference room. For married couples, our outside notary, Walter, will handle the notarization. If you are single, I will be the responsible notary. Before signing, Iwill be present to explain the documents once again and confirm the more important provisions with you.
There are four different stages of the signing of documents:
- Confirmation and signing;
- Signing and finger printing of the Notary book;
- An explanation of various letters I will be presenting to you which details the titling of assets in the Living Trust. You will also receive specific directions regarding attachments to your Advanced Health Care Directives to specify the directions to your Healthcare Agents. You will also receive a Survey, which is optional, to return to our office with a grading system for our services;
- The final stage will be the staff member assigned to your file providing you the original and a copy of your documents. As part of this segment you will be asked to sign a Closing Letter in which you may request to receive our ongoing Newsletters and Legal Articles. Additionally we continue to support our clients by answering questions, usually by email, regarding their Estate Plan after the signing at no charge.
The entire signing appointment takes about an hour.
Most importantly you need to be aware that I am involved in your Living Trust and Estate Plan from start to finish. I handle the initial personal consultation; the customization of the drafting of documents and the signing of the final documents. I would suggest to those of you who are “shopping” attorneys, to have them verify that the attorney you initially see, will be the attorney drafting the documents and will be present at signing. Many times this will not be the case, especially
in firms with associates and paralegals. You may see the Principal Attorney initially but he/she may never again be involved with your Estate Plan. This is not a critical comment, but one of reality. At The Stephens Law Group I have personally seen clients for 20 to 30 years and now am drafting Living Trusts for their children.
I would look forward to seeing you in our offices, or otherwise, and explaining why the creating and updating of your Family/Living Trust and Estate Plan is one of the most important matters you will ever undertake. It is protecting and controlling your estate, usually everything you have accumulated in life, to pass on to your chosen beneficiaries.
Jack E. Stephens