Our Estate Planning Process

Question: “What is the process of working with Stacey to complete your Will and other estate planning documents?

Answer: It’s straightforward.

Step 1: Complete the Estate Planning Form on this web site. This form asks a lot of questions about your assets, family members, etc. Although it can be lengthy and time consuming to complete, this information is needed in order to develop a comprehensive estate plan.

Even if you do not plan to distribute anything to a family member, it is smart to identify that person and helps prevent legal challenges down the road. By providing dates of birth and contact information for all family members, it helps to track them down later in the event that they move after you’ve completed the Will.

By providing information about your assets, it helps determine the overall picture of distribution as well as whether or not tax planning is desirable.

If two people want to do their estate planning together, such as a husband and wife, you each need to complete separate forms. However, if the information on a portion of the form would be the same for both of you, you only need to complete that portion once.

If you have any questions about completing the Estate Planning Form, please contact Stacey – info@staceyromberg.com.

Step 2: Send completed form to our office by mail, e-mail or fax. When you send it in, please indicate some dates and times that you would be available for an initial consultation.

Step 3: You are contacted to schedule an appointment.

Step 4: You confer with Stacey to discuss your estate planning needs. She makes recommendations. Generally, all estate planning work is done on a hourly basis. If you feel comfortable with the recommendations and pricing, you will enter into a clear written fee agreement for the legal services. An advance fee deposit is due prior to the initiation of work.

Step 5: Stacey drafts all documents, and sends them to you for your review. You can ask questions and make changes to your documents.

Step 6: Once you are satisfied with your draft documents, you schedule another appointment to sign everything. There are technical legal requirements involved with signing a Will, so it’s important that you sign everything in front of an attorney who is knowledgeable about these requirements.

Step 7: You receive your original documents in the mail, along with a letter providing further instructions for storing your original documents and when they need to be changed.

Step 8: In approximately five years, you will be contacted by our office to see if any changes need to be made to your documents. It is important to review these documents periodically, to ensure all information is up to date.

Any questions? Please contact Stacey’s office at inquiry@staceyromberg.com.

Estate Planning Documents

Last Will and Testament

Your Last Will and Testament enables you to make a legal disposition of your property upon your death. You select a person you trust, known as a “Personal Representative,” to administer your estate according to your stated instructions.

General Durable Power of Attorney

This document enables you to select a person, referred to as your “Attorney-in-Fact,” who will take charge of your financial affairs in the event of incompetency. We recommend that you name an alternate, in case the person you select isn’t able to assist you. You should select someone you trust. Your Attorney-in-Fact should be financially responsible, and be able to pay your bills, make wise investment choices, and otherwise take care of all your financial matters. You also need to decide when to make the document effective. Married couples often like to make the General Durable Power of Attorney effective immediately. The General Durable Power of Attorney then allows them the flexibility to sign necessary documents and complete financial transactions for their spouse if their spouse is out of town or otherwise unavailable. However, most of our clients choose to make their General Durable Power of Attorney effective upon their disability.

Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions

This document authorizes your designated “Attorney-in-Fact” to make decisions about your medical treatment in the event of incompetency. You should select someone you trust. You should feel confident that your Attorney-in-Fact will respect your wishes regarding medical treatment, and make good choices for you. We recommend that you select someone who lives close by, so that your Attorney-in-Fact will be able to sign necessary documentation in the event of a medical emergency. However, if you are choosing between someone you trust and someone who is close, we recommend that you choose based on the trust. You should also name an alternate in case the person you select isn’t able to assist you. This document is particularly important if you are in a gay relationship or unmarried heterosexual relationship, because it can allow your partner to have visitation rights and to otherwise have a say in your care and treatment.

Mental Health Advance Directive

Similar to a Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions, this document authorizes your designated “Attorney-in-Fact” to make decisions about your mental health treatment in the event of incompetency.

Health Care Directive

A Health Care Directive, commonly referred as a “living will,” allows you to indicate whether you would like your life to be “artificially prolonged” in the event of an injury, disease or terminal condition that prevents you from communicating your wishes. Although some people disagree with this document from a religious perspective, other people believe it creates the option for them to have more control over their death and for death to be a more dignified process. We believe it is important for people to have full information, and to make choices based upon their own personal beliefs.

Community Property Agreement

Community Property Agreements are used by married couples, in certain circumstances, to transfer their ownership in any assets to a surviving spouse in lieu of probate. It should not be used if the couple has a taxable estate or if the couple wishes to qualify for Medicaid benefits. However, it can be an incredibly effective and useful tool to pass assets efficiently and inexpensively to the surviving spouse upon the first spouse’s death.

Memorial Instructions

RCW 68.50.160(1) states: “A person has the right to control the disposition of his or her own remains without the predeath or postdeath consent of another person. A valid written document expressing the decedent’s wishes regarding the place or method of disposition of his or her remains, signed by the decedent in the presence of a witness, is sufficient legal authorization for the procedures to be accomplished.”

Our office can assist you in preparing this document upon request.

Estate Planning Form

Please fill out this form and send it to Stacey L. Romberg prior to your initial estate planning consultation.   If a couple wants to have an appointment together, each person needs to complete a separate form. However, if duplicate information is listed, please feel free to reference the other person’s form so that that information only has to be provided once.

Please print out the form, fill it in and then fax or mail it to our office.

If you fill out the form electronically, please save it as a .pdf file on your computer with your name and then e-mail it to our office as an attachment. You can also print it, and then fax or mail it if you prefer. If you have questions about the form, please let us know.

This Estate Planning form is in PDF format. The PDF format requires Adobe Acrobat.  The reader is free.  If you do not already have the reader, you can download it using the link below.