The Estate Planning Process


The process of preparing a client's first estate plan usually involves five steps:

1. Beginning of Engagement

We begin by providing a questionnaire that assists clients in gathering information about their assets and wishes.  A client's responses help us determine whether they have an estate large enough to need estate tax reduction strategies and how to coordinate non-probate assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance. 

2. Planning Meeting

At this meeting we review the information in the questionnaire and help clients think through the distribution of assets based on their spouse's needs, abilities, and other considerations.  For married clients, we use diagrams to explain how a credit shelter trust for the surviving spouse may reduce estate taxes.  We also discuss the appointment of an executor and directives for health care decisions.  For clients have minor children, we address issues concerning guardians and distribution of funds in trust for children. 

3. Draft Documents

We send clients drafts of their estate planning documents, often accompanied by a diagram illustrating the operation of the plan and a letter that explains all portions of the plan that are tailored or specialized for the clients. Documents include at least a will, a personal property list, and a durable power of attorney for financial and health care decisions. Clients may choose to establish a revocable living trust rather than use a will as the primary planning document. Depending on the clients' circumstances, we may recommend having an agreement as to the status of property, which defines what is separate property and what is community property.

4. Questions and Revisions

We next obtain feedback and comments from clients and answer their questions about the proposed documents and revise the drafts as desired.

5. Signing Meeting

​When all of the documents are in order, we schedule a meeting for the clients to sign in accordance with Washington law. 

Preservation of Documents

​Many of our clients prefer to hold their originally-signed documents, but we can also keep the original documents in a fireproof safe in our offices.  We send our clients copies of all documents, accompanied by a completion letter and instructions on beneficiary designations for life insurance and retirement accounts, as well as how to title property. 

KHBB Law Is Here for You

At KHBB Law, we focus on Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration, Trust, Estate & Guardianship Litigation, Trust & Estate Counsel and Business, Corporate & Real Estate and we are here to listen to you and help you navigate the legal system.

Contact Us Today

KHBB Law is committed to answering your questions about Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration, Trust, Estate & Guardianship Litigation, Trust & Estate Counsel and Business, Corporate & Real Estate law issues in Seattle, WA.

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
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