Estate Planning Templates

Automate your practice using state-of-the-art document assembly software


The templates allow an attorney to prepare individual documents or a complete will or trust plan which can be given to the client in a three-ring binder. Some work can be delegated to a paralegal.


Client Intake Form and Client Information Summary Template. Gather detailed information about the client(s) and about their assets necessary for estate planning.

  • Email Client Intake Form with pdf fillable format to client who can type answers and return to you. Paralegal or attorney enters answers from Client Intake form into Client Information Summary Template and saves Answer File. Client Information Summary Document is saved.
  • Alternatively paralegal or attorney interviews client on phone or in office and fills out Client Information Summary Template bypassing the Client Intake Form and saves Answer File. Client Information Summary Document is saved.
  • Client Information Summary Document provides all information necessary to produce the remaining documents in Word format and is kept electronically in the file for future reference.

Spreadsheet

  • Using the Answer File paralegal or attorney runs the Spreadsheet Template.
  • The Spreadsheet can be used with new clients and also with existing clients where the existing plan is being updated.
  • Spreadsheet lists all assets, who owns the asset (individual, joint, individual trust, or joint trust), current values, and total values.
  • In trust plans the Spreadsheet can be either one spreadsheet for a joint trust or two spreadsheets where wife has a trust and husband has a trust (two trust plan). The Spreadsheet(s) show who will own each asset after the trust is funded, i.e., individual ownership, joint ownership, joint trust, husband’s trust, or wife’s trust.

Funding Documents Template

  • Using the Answer File the paralegal or attorney runs the Funding Documents template. Used in Trust Plans.
  • This is where the value of HotDocs really becomes apparent. It really doesn’t matter how many assets the client(s) own because the template produces all the funding documents automatically (in one Word document) without any need to retype the information. It couldn’t be more efficient. The Funding Documents Template mirrors the spreadsheet(s) and produces all deeds, assignments of personal property, letters of instruction to banks and brokerage institutions, assignments of contract receivables, assignments of corporate and other business interests, assignments of oil/gas/mineral interests, and provides information about how to retitle vehicles, mobile homes, airplanes, stock options, and beneficial interests in trusts. It also produces letters to insurance companies and custodians of retirement accounts asking them to provide written confirmation of beneficiary designations.
  • A key element of effective estate planning is the ability to answer the question of do you know where each asset will go when the client dies and the spreadsheet and the funding document provides a definitive answer to that question.

Revocable Living Trust

  • Using the Answer file the attorney runs the Trust Template to produce either a Trust or a Trust Amendment to an existing Trust.
  • Type of Trust.
    • Produce either a Trust for an unmarried person.
    • Or a joint Trust for a married couple.
    • Or a two-Trust plan where each spouse has their own Trust.
  • Select Initial Trustee or Co-Trustees and up to 3 additional Trustees or Co-Trustees can be selected.
  • Once a name is entered it is saved and can be used in other contexts without retyping.
  • Provides language for Specific Gifts.
    • Type
      1. Cash
      2. Real estate.
      3. Stock.
      4. Other property.
    • Allows for charitable or non-charitable gifts.
    • Distribution to a specific individual or distributed to a group of persons either per stirpes or those living.
    • For married couples gifts may be made at the death of the first spouse and/or the death of the second spouse.
  • Personal Property Options.
    • Persons who receive personal property
      1. Child or Children if Settlor(s) have children.
      2. Defined class such as nieces and nephews.
      3. Other persons.
        • Residuary beneficiaries in kind.
      4. Residuary beneficiaries receive proceeds from estate sale.
    • Allows for distribution based on informal writing by Settlor(s)
  • Estate Tax Planning for married couples.
    • At the death of the first spouse, provides for division of the trust estate in the two trust plan, or in a joint trust, for division of the share of the first spouse to die, into two shares: the Marital-Deduction Share and the Nonmarital-Deduction Share.
      1. Marital-Deduction Share is
        • Distributed Outright to surviving spouse
        • Or to a Marital Trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse.
        • Qualifies for the marital deduction on the estate tax return.
      2. Nonmarital-Deduction Share.
        • Distributed to an Exemption or Disclaimer Trust for the benefit of either (i) the surviving spouse or (2) the surviving spouse and children or distributed outright to (i) Children or (2) Other persons.
        • Utilizes the exemption amount and passes free of federal estate tax.
        • The Trustee may elect on the filing of the estate tax return to treat the amount in the Exemption Trust which is over $1 million as Oregon Special Marital Property to defer Oregon Estate Tax until the death of the second spouse.
    • Funding methods for the Marital-Deduction Share and the Nonmarital-Deduction share.
      1. Pecuniary formulas or
      2. Disclaimer by surviving spouse or
      3. Election on estate tax return by personal representative (Cascading Clayton).
  • Final Distributions.
    • Distributions of the residue at the death of the Settlor, or in the case of joint trusts, at the death of the Surviving Settlor.
    • Beneficiaries can be:
      1. Children equally on the basis of representation if Settlor(s) have children
        • Outright distribution or
        • Distribution held in continuing Trust either in a pot trust or individual trusts with options for distribution ages or custom distribution ages.
      2. Class of people such as nieces and nephews equally on the basis representation.
        • Outright distribution or
        • Distribution held in continuing Trust either in a pot trust or individual trusts with options for distribution ages or custom distribution ages.
      3. Single named person or charity
      4. Multiple named individuals - equally
      5. Multiple named individual or charity(ies) -unequal shares - percentages
        • For example 20% to Jane Doe, 50 % to John Doe, and 30% to William Doe
      6. Multiple named individual or charity(ies) -unequal shares - fractions
        • For example 1/8th to Jane Doe, 2/8ths to John Doe, and 5/8ths to William Doe
    • Allows customization of the distributions for each single named person, or for each multiple named individuals in unequal distributions either by percentage or by fractions. In the foregoing example of 20% to Jane Doe, 50 % to John Doe, and 30% to William Doe, the distribution could be:
      1. Jane Doe’s share could be held in a lifetime trust
      2. John Doe’s share could be held in a special needs trust
      3. William Doe’s share could be held in a trust which would terminate at age 40
      4. There would be an article produced for each beneficiary in which their trust could be specifically tailored to each beneficiary.
      5. The combinations are endless and very easy to set up based on the answers to the questions posed in the interview.

      Will

      • Using the Answer File the attorney runs the Will Template.
      • In a Trust Plan a Pourover Will is produced.
      • In a Will Plan there are three options.
        • Simple Will with no tax planning.
        • Simple Will with disclaimer provisions.
        • Complex Will with all estate tax planning options (as in the Trust).
          1. Most attorney seem to use a living trust rather than a will with taxable estate, but some attorneys prefer to use wills so this option is offered.
          2. It contains all the estate tax options which are provided for in the trust template.
      • Final Distributions
        • Same options as in the trust template

      Trust Certification

      • Using the Answer File the attorney runs the Trust Certification Template in a Trust Plan
      • Only one new unanswered question in the interview and that is what tax id will be used by the Trust.

      Power of Attorney

      • Using the Answer File the attorney runs the Power of Attorney Template.
      • Used in a Will Plan and in a Trust Plan.
      • Power can be effective immediately or upon incapacity.
      • Provides for initial attorney in fact (or co-attorneys in fact) and up to three alternate attorneys in fact (or co-attorneys in fact).

      Advance Directive to Physicians

      • Using Answer file the Attorney runs the Advance Directive to Physicians to Template.
      • Standard Oregon Advance Directive to Physicians is automated.

      Filler Information for the Three-Ring Binder

      • Using the Answer File the Attorney runs the Filler Information Template
      • Produces:
        • Title Page for three-ring binder.
        • Divider pages for the 10 tabs of the three-ring binder.
        • Attorney bill.
        • Letter to client(s).
        • Receipt client signs when picking up the three-ring binder.
        • Summary of estate planning documents.
        • List of key people for client(s) to fill out if desired.
        • Memorial letter for client to fill out if desired.
        • Personal property distribution letter for client to fill out if desired.
        • Lists where client(s) can document passwords for social medial, online accounts, and hardware.
        • List where client(s) can document any new property which has been added to the Trust(s).