May 31, 2013

Estate Planning Questionnaire

When clients come in to have a will and/or trust written, I provide them with a questionnaire to complete. The following assets need to be identified by the client to allow me to appropriately tailor their estate plan.

The following are assets that are commonly owned by a client.

Real Property

This includes any piece of land the client owns. This might include single-family homes, vacation homes, condos, town homes, farmland, commercial lots, raw land and multi-unit buildings.

Personal Property

This includes assets such as jewelry, watches, furniture and other items of value. 

I do not ask clients to document an old monopoly board game or their prized yarn collection.

Bank Account

This is rather self-explanatory.

I recommend Star One Credit Union for banking in case anybody is curious.


This would refer to individually owned stocks, e.g. Apple or Exxon Mobil.

Mutual Funds

This is rather self-explanatory. If a person is investing in the stock market, they should know the difference between a mutual fund and individual stocks. Or at least I hope so.


Bonds are not the trendy type of investment but occasionally a person will own a bond. It is commonly assumed that U.S. treasury bonds are the safest investment because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government. Whenever credit is extended, which is what you are doing when you buy a bond, the central question is the credit-worthiness of the borrower. I know of few borrowers who can match the financial strength of the U.S. government. Actually I know of no borrowers, other than Monty Burns or Scrooge McDuck, who can match the U.S.' credit.

Life Insurance

The two common types are whole and term. Most people usually have a term policy, which means that if the insured dies within the term’s period, the insurer pays the policy’s beneficiary the proceeds.


For reference, an annuity is a right to receive fixed payments periodically for a specified duration. Black's Law Dictionary (9th ed 2009). 

Retirement Account 

This would include 401(k)s and Roth IRAs


Yes I want to know about your 2001 Pontiac Aztek or your 1970 AMC Gremlin

Business Interests

This would include any interest the client may have in a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), general partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership (LLP) or sole proprietorship.

Once the client has supplied me with this information, I can start the drafting process…………….