Talk to Intake Team

First, please review some Frequently Asked Questions regarding our practice and team:

What does your process look like?

Ellen or Hannah (our associate attorney) will have a call with you to discuss your goals, dive into your planning needs, answer your questions, and quote a hard fee for all of the planning. Our team then drafts the documents and sends them to you for your review, along with a flow chart and videos walking you through the documents. We then have a follow-up call with you to answer questions and fill in any blanks. Then we schedule a Remote Online Notarization appointment or an in-person notarization appointment.

How long does it take to create/settle/establish an Estate Plan/Conservatorship/Trust Administration/Conservatorship?

For estate planning, the entire process can take as little as 2 months total – a lot of it depends on when we hear back from you on necessary decisions. Trust administrations and conservatorships tend to take 4-6 months.

For how long has Ellen been practicing Law?

Ellen graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law in 2003 and has been practicing estate planning (with an emphasis in special needs planning) since 2008. She started Cookman Law, PC in 2015.

Do you (the attorney or Cookman Law, PC) act as Trustee/Executor of the Trust?

No, we do not act as trustee of trusts; instead, we advise trustees of trusts, particularly after the settlor of a trust has died – this process is called Trust Administration. We are happy to introduce you to banks and private professional fiduciaries that act as trustee.

Can you work with my other advisors (Financial Advisor, CPA, Tax Attorney, etc) while working on my Trust?

Yes!! We love working with other professionals, and we welcome them to join our meetings if you are comfortable with it.

What are your fees like and how does payment work?

We typically charge a flat fee for all work done. After our initial appointment (when we get a better idea of what needs to be done) we will quote a flat fee, and we collect the full fee at that time. We accept credit cards and checks. We deposit the full fee into our IOLTA trust account (owned by the California State Bar), and transfer the fee into our operating account after we send you the draft documents.

We do not offer free initial consultations.

How much of your practice is dedicated towards Estate Planning/SNT’s?

About one-half of our estate planning clients have special needs issues in their families.

How do I know if a Special Needs Trust is right for my child?

Special Needs Trusts are useful if your child is receiving needs-based public benefits (ie Supplemental Security Income and/or Medi-Cal), and/or if they need assistance managing assets, even if they’re not receiving such public benefits.

Can you help us with applying for public benefits (for beneficiary of a SNT)?

No, we don’t assist with public benefits applications. But we are happy to refer you to folks who do help with this!

Who will I be working with in your firm aside from Ellen (the attorney in your absence)?

We love working as a team at Cookman Law. At least 3 sets of eyes look over each set of documents before they go out the door: one of our drafting paralegals (Kim Tyser or Megan Orsini), our associate attorney (Hannah MacLeod), and Ellen. Hannah is typically available for questions when Ellen is out of the office.

Next, please find a time on our calendar to talk with our intake team regarding your family’s needs for estate planning, special needs planning, trust administration and/or conservatorships.

We cannot provide legal advice on this call, but we will get you started.