CHAPTER 5: PREPARATION TO DRAFT A WILL: CHECKLISTS

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1 CHAPTER 5: PREPARATION TO DRAFT A WILL: CHECKLISTS AND THE CONFERENCE WITH THE CLIENT MATCHING a. spendthrift b. life estate c. disinheritance d. dividend e. fair market value f. homestead g. receivables h. life insurance i. contract for deed j. primary beneficiary 1. Debts established in the course of business that are currently due from others 2. An agreement to sell real property on an installment basis 3. The family home and adjoining land 4. A legally binding agreement by which one party promises to pay another a certain sum of money if the policyholder dies or suffers a disability 5. One who wastes money or spends it unwisely 6. The person who has a superior claim over all others to the benefits of a life insurance contract 7. The monetary amount an item would bring if it were sold on the open market 8. An interest in real property 9. The share of profits or property to which the owners of a business are entitled 10. A testator s act of specifically depriving someone who would otherwise be that testator s legal beneficiary 1. ANS: G 2. ANS: I ANS: H ANS: J 7. ANS: E 8. ANS: B ANS: C TRUE/FALSE 1. Checklists should be used to collect information during the initial interview. Correct. A family tree should also be drawn at this time, identifying adopted and nonmarital children. Incorrect. Checklists help ensure that the legal team does not miss important information. 2. In order to efficiently assist the attorney, the paralegal needs to develop drafting and counseling skills. Correct. The paralegal also needs to develop interviewing and data-collecting skills.

2 Incorrect. The paralegal will likely be responsible for writing the initial draft of the will. 3. The paralegal should familiarize the client with the taxes imposed on a decedent s estate and give legal advice about how to minimize them. Correct. Giving legal advice is always the attorney s responsibility. Incorrect. A paralegal should never give legal advice. 4. Recommending periodic reviews of the will whenever the client s marital status changes constitutes improper solicitation. Correct. Changes in domicile, the law, or the addition or loss of children also require a review of the will. Incorrect. Such changes do not necessarily have to be made by the same attorney. 5. One of the paralegal s duties is to collect complete information about the client, his/her family, and the beneficiaries to be named in the will. Correct. The paralegal should use a family data checklist when doing this. Incorrect. The paralegal needs to obtain full contact information, age and marital status, and other information for each party. 6. For smaller estates, joint tenancy ownership can prevent additional administration expenses. Correct. However, such an agreement requires the consent of both tenants to sell the property. Incorrect. The property will automatically transfer to the joint tenant. 7. A spouse can be legally disinherited, but a child cannot. Correct. A spouse cannot be completely disinherited. Incorrect. A testator can choose to disinherit any and all children. 8. Witnesses must read and be informed of all contents of a will before signing. Correct. Witnesses do not need to know the contents of the will. They must, however, testify that the testator signed it. Incorrect. Witnesses may be called to testify as to whether the testator signed the will. 9. When drafting a will, simple language should be used. Correct. The will should be drafted to make the testator s intent clearly known. Incorrect. Ambiguous language could cause the will to be contested. 10. The client should receive a rough draft of the will. Correct. This copy should not be signed and should be clearly marked Rough Draft.

3 Incorrect. The client should review all information in the will to be sure it reflects his/her wishes. MULTIPLE CHOICE 1. The checklist for family data should include all of the following EXCEPT: a. Tangible personal property, including personal effects and clothing of considerable value b. Age and marital status of the testator c. Mental and physical health of the testator and spouse d. Full names, addresses, and phone numbers of the participants Tangible personal property, including personal effects and clothing of considerable value Correct. Tangible personal property information is needed for the assets and liabilities checklist. Age and marital status of the testator Incorrect. Paralegals should also ask for the age and marital status of the beneficiaries and devisees. Mental and physical health of the testator and spouse Incorrect. Paralegals should also find out the mental and physical status of other beneficiaries. Full names, addresses, and phone numbers of the participants Incorrect. Participants include the testator, beneficiaries, executor, witnesses, etc. 2. Which type of checklist will include a Patents heading? a. Family data b. Family advisers c. Assets and liabilities d. Life insurance data ANS: C Assets and liabilities Correct. A Patents heading will also be found on the records or documents checklist. Family data Incorrect. Family data include personal information about the testator s family. Family advisers Incorrect. This is a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers. Life insurance data Incorrect. Life insurance data include a list of companies and beneficiaries. 3. Which is an example of a liability? a. Individual retirement account (IRA) b. Automobile loan c. Partnership agreement d. ATM card ANS: B Automobile loan Correct. Loans and debts are liabilities to be paid. Individual retirement account (IRA) Incorrect. IRAs are assets. Partnership agreement Incorrect. Partnership agreements are business interests. ATM card Incorrect. However, a credit card balance is a liability. 4. Which is NOT a disadvantage of using a preprinted will form? a. Words on preprinted forms are often crossed out or deleted by ink or type. b. A preprinted will form is easily forged. c. A preprinted will form might not meet the special needs of the testator. d. A preprinted will form is expensive to use. A preprinted will form is expensive to use. Correct. Preprinted will forms are generally inexpensive, which is why many people use them. Words on preprinted forms are often crossed out or deleted by ink or type. Incorrect. Such deletions can jeopardize the validity of the will. A preprinted will form is easily forged. Incorrect. Part of the form may be printed, another part may be typed, and another may be handwritten.

4 A preprinted will form might not meet the special needs of the testator. Incorrect. Preprinted forms are written in generalities. 5. When drafting a will, the paralegal should: a. Make sure all copies of the will are signed b. Use legal words and elaborate phrasing whenever possible c. Include a residuary clause d. Erase as many mistakes as necessary, and make any corrections needed on the final will ANS: C Include a residuary clause Correct. The testator s entire estate must be transferred. Make sure all copies of the will are signed Incorrect. To reduce the likelihood of will contests, only the original should be signed and dated. Use legal words and elaborate phrasing whenever possible Incorrect. The will must be written in simple language so that the testator s intent is clear. Erase as many mistakes as necessary, and make any corrections needed on the final will Incorrect. Avoid all corrections and erasures in the final will. 6. Which is a government grant that gives an inventor an exclusive right to make, use, and sell an invention? a. Copyright b. Patent c. Royalty d. Receivable ANS: B Patent Correct. A patent is a form of miscellaneous property. Copyright Incorrect. This is a government grant that gives an author an exclusive right to publish, reprint, and sell a manuscript. Royalty Incorrect. This is a payment made to an author, a composer, or an inventor by a company that has been licensed to publish or manufacture the individual s manuscript or invention. Receivable Incorrect. This is a debt established in the course of business that is currently due from a person or due within a certain period. 7. What is an annuity? a. A fixed sum to be paid at regular intervals to an insurance policyholder for either a certain or indefinite period b. The cash reserve that increases each year an insurance policy remains in force as a minimum savings feature c. An annual sum that the insured pays to an insurance company as consideration for the insurance contract d. An alternative that a party to an insurance contract agrees to follow to discharge the agreement A fixed sum to be paid at regular intervals to an insurance policyholder for either a certain or indefinite period Correct. An annuity may be paid for a stated number of years or for life. The cash reserve that increases each year an insurance policy remains in force as a minimum savings feature Incorrect. This is the cash surrender value of an ordinary life insurance policy. An annual sum that the insured pays to an insurance company as consideration for the insurance contract Incorrect. This is the premium. An alternative that a party to an insurance contract agrees to follow to discharge the agreement Incorrect. This is a settlement option. 8. An agreement or contract to sell real property on an installment basis is:

5 a. A promissory note b. A mortgage c. An installment purchase d. A contract for deed A contract for deed Correct. With a contract for deed, on payment of the last installment, the title to the property is transferred by delivery of the deed to the purchaser. A promissory note Incorrect. This is a promise in writing to pay a certain sum of money at a future time to a specific person. A mortgage Incorrect. This is a contract by which a person pledges property to another as security so as to obtain a loan. An installment purchase Incorrect. This is a purchase of goods on credit whereby the purchaser pays for the goods over a period of time. 9. A condition or specific event that must occur before an agreement or obligation becomes binding is: a. A condition precedent b. A condition subsequent c. A defeasance d. An advancement A condition precedent Correct. A condition precedent is one in which a specified event must occur before the estate or interest vests in (passes to) the named devisee. A condition subsequent Incorrect. This is a condition that will continue or terminate an existing agreement or duty if the condition does or does not occur. A defeasance Incorrect. This is the termination of a vested estate by the happening or nonhappening of an event. An advancement Incorrect. This is money or property given by a parent to a child in anticipation of the share that the child will inherit from the parent s estate. 10. Which is tangible personal property? a. Cash b. Stocks and bonds c. A vacation home d. Automobiles Automobiles Correct. Automobiles are items of personal property that have a physical existence. Cash Incorrect. Cash is personal property but it is intangible. Stocks and bonds Incorrect. Stocks and bonds are personal property, but they are intangible. A vacation home Incorrect. Real estate is real property, not personal property.