Wills and Estate Planning: Tips on Scheduling Appointments and Interviewing New Clients (Part Two)

Vol. 3, No. 7

 

Editor’s Note: Attached is the second part of a segmented article regarding scheduling appointments for, and interviewing, new clients. Part One appeared in the January issue.

 

Wills/Power of Attorney/Codicil: Client at Initial Appointment

 

Initial Appointment

Say, “Good afternoon. Are you Mr. / Ms. ______? Did you completely fill out the Will Questionnaire?” If not, give the Will Questionnaire to the client. Ask the client to fill out all sections.

 

Will Interview Form (fill in after the client completes the Will Questionnaire)

Read the completed Will Questionnaire and any Questions. Have the client fill in blank sections and ask questions.

When finished, look over form and make sure all pages are filled out, except guardian pages. On the second page of the questionnaire, the client needs to fill out

Beneficiary 1

Beneficiary 2

Do not give to the attorney until it is filled out.

                         

When client is finished filling out interview sheet, make sure both pages are filled out. If there is no answer to a question, the client should write “None.” Nothing should be blank or marked as N/A. If “Referred by” section is blank, ask the client who referred them or where they heard about the office. Examples include website, ticket letter, prior client. If they say a particular person’s name, write down person’s name. Also ask them if this person is one of our prior clients.

Tell potential client help themselves to brochures.

If the attorney is not back from court or is still with another client, pull the applicable brochures and give to the client to read while they are waiting.

 

Confidential Will Questionnaire

Clients are advised “Please fill out completely and fax or mail back. This form is extremely important. Your accuracy and completeness in responding will help me best represent you. All sections and information must be filled out prior to sitting down with the attorney.

Some clients may have difficulty filling out all the questions, so the attorney or law office staff will need to ask these questions.

 

  1. Your Full Name
  2. If married or separated, Spouse’s Full Name (first and last)
  3. Your Street Address, City, State, Zip Code
  4. Telephone Numbers (cell, day, night)
  5. E-mail address
  6. Referred by (if referred by a person, is this a client or attorney? If you heard about the law office on the Internet, which search engine did you use? What search terms did you use?)
  7. Today’s Date
  8. Your Marital Status (Single, Married, Separated, Divorced, Widowed, Civil Union/ Domestic Partner)
  9. Your Month/Year of birth
  10. Spouse Month/Year of birth
  11. If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor child or minor children, please check here. [ ]

 

The Law Office recommends a Durable Power of Attorney in the event of your physical or mental disability to help you with financial affairs. Do you want one? (Yes No)

The Law Office recommends a Living Will telling hospitals and doctors not to prolong your life by artificial means. Do you want one? (Yes No)

How can we help you? What are your questions/other important information?

 

Estate Executor

The person charged with administering/probating your estate, paying taxes and/or other debts, preserving, managing, and distributing estate assets and property is called an Executor. This person should be one in whom you have trust and confidence. Your spouse is usually named as primary Executor, followed by the child who lives closest to your home.

Please provide the following information about the person you wish to name to serve in this capacity.

 

1. Primary Choice of Executor/Personal Representative in Power of Attorney:

Name

Relationship

Address

 

2. Secondary Choice of Executor/Personal Representative in Power of Attorney:

This individual will serve in the event that the primary executor/personal representative is not alive at the time of your death, or is unable to serve.

Name

Relationship

Address

 

The two proposed Executors must be filled out prior to meeting the attorney. The Law Office does not recommend Joint Executors, which often cause conflicts and additional work for the Estate. It is best to select one primary person, then a secondary person.

 

Asset Information

House/Real Estate Address

 

Estimate Total Real Estate Value:

 

Approx. mortgage

 

Bank Accounts, Stocks, CDs and Assets

 

Approximate Amount

 

Beneficiaries of Bank Accounts (if none write “none”)

 

Other Major Assets (if none, write “none”)

 

Approximate Life Insurance:

Beneficiary

 

In the Will: Who Do You Want to Get Your Assets?

 

Beneficiary (1)

Relationship

 

Beneficiary (2)

Relationship

 

Beneficiary (3)

Relationship

 

Any Specific Bequests of Money and Property?

 

Married Persons With Child(ren) Or Grandchild(ren)

Generally most married people provide that, upon their death, property will be distributed as follows:

1. Your estate (all property and assets not owned jointly with another person) will be distributed to your surviving spouse.

2. If your spouse predeceases you, then your estate will be divided in equal shares among all of your living children. If any child shall predecease you, then that child’s share will go to their children (grandchildren).

 

Names of Children and Their Ages

List the names and ages of all children even if they are older than eighteen. If no children, write none.

 

Guardian(s) of Minor Child(ren)

[Skip this section if you have no minor children and do not want a trust. There are substantial additional fees for preparation of a trust.]

The surviving parent of a minor child is ordinarily entitled to be the GUARDIAN of that child. In the case of simultaneous death of you and your spouse, or if you are a single parent, you should appoint a Guardian for your minor child. It is advisable, prior to the completion of this Questionnaire, to make sure that your proposed Guardian(s) is (are) willing to serve as Guardian(s). In addition, the Guardian will also hold the monies for the minor children UNLESS you direct us otherwise. In your Will you can have any adult serve as Trustee of monies for minor children.

Provide the following information about the person(s) you select to be Guardian(s)/Trustee(s). In the event my spouse predeceases me, I name as GUARDIAN(S)/ TRUSTEE(S):

 

1. PRIMARY Choice of GUARDIAN / TRUSTEE:

Full Name:

Relationship:

 

2. SECOND Choice of GUARDIAN / TRUSTEE:

Full Name:

Relationship:

 

Are there any beneficiaries with special needs, or receiving SSI or SDD? Please answer in detail.

 

Are you and your beneficiaries not United States citizens?

 

Do you have any religious wishes on burial or last services?

 

Married Persons With No Child(ren) Or Grandchild(ren)

Generally most married people with no children or grandchildren provide that upon their death their property will be distributed as follows:

1. Your estate (all property and assets not owned jointly with another person) will be distributed to your surviving spouse, but

2. If your spouse predeceases you, then your estate will be distributed to your living parent, or equally to your living parents.

3. But should both of your parents predecease you, then your estate will be distributed equally to your brothers and sisters or equally to the children of a predeceased brother or sister.

Please check B above only if you wish your property distributed precisely and exactly as indicated in section B, 1 through 3, above.

 

Divorced Or Widowed Persons With Child(ren) Or Grandchild(ren)

Generally, most divorced or widowed persons with children or grandchildren provide that upon their death property will be distributed as follows:

1. Your estate (all property and assets not owned jointly with another person) will be distributed in equal shares to all of your living children.

2. But if one or more of your children predeceases you, that deceased child’s share will be distributed to his or her children, your grandchildren in equal shares

 

Alternate Plan of Distribution

You may list specific gifts to individuals and/or divide your estate among several individuals by listing percentages to each, making sure that the percentages total 100%. You may add additional sheets if necessary or use the back of this form. There are additional will preparation fees if there are gifts, called specific bequests.

 

Please write down any questions you have here or anything else important that the law office should be aware of.

 

Estate Planning

Your estate may be subject to state estate taxation if the total of your assets exceeds $675,000. If your assets exceed $675,000, and you desire estate planning to avoid or reduce your estate tax or require a trust to protect a spouse, please advise your lawyer. A standard will is not designed to address estate tax issues. The law office does not do federal tax planning or Medicaid nursing home planning. If you request these, please advise in writing. The law office can provide a referral.

 

Payment will be made by (please circle one)

Check, Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) or Cash

 

Please make checks payable to

 

Payment is required for will, power of attorney, and other document preparation at the first consult and prior to any documents being drafted. Minimum fee for last will and testament preparation is $200 each. The law office charges a $150.00 consultation fee, which is credited to the preparation of the will or other document. This $150.00 fee is nonrefundable even if the documents are not prepared. If there are any changes to a draft will, power of attorney, or other document, there will be a minimum charge of $75.00 per revision. The Will needs to be signed within 21 days of initial consult or an additional fee of $100.00 will be charged. Due to complexity and need to retitle assets, fees for trusts are minimum $2,500.

 

This form was filled out by:

 

 

 

Note: Look for Ken Vercammen's new GPSolo book Smart Marketing for the Small Firm Practitioner in April 2014!

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