[NOTE: There are two questionnaires -- one for clients with assets under $500,000 and one for clients with assets in excess of $500,000. The following sample questionnaires are used with the New York Wills Library. If you ordered the library for some other jurisdiction, some of the questions and terms would be different.]

WILL QUESTIONNAIRES
(questionnaire for clients with assets under $500,000)

Name of the testator:
Address:

__male __female
__married[__once/__several] __widow(er) __divorced __single __civil union, domestic partnership or same-sex marriage
__previously made a Will - date(s):

Telephone number(s):
Soc. Sec. No.:
Occupation/Employment/Business:

Military status: __in service __a spouse of person in service __a dependent of person in service __retired from service __stationed outside of state of domicile - place:

Advisors (accountant, insurance agent, physician, investment advisor, banker, clergyman):




Name of spouse:

Soc. Sec. No.:
Spouse's Occupation/Employment/Business:

Information re prior marriages:


Children: __NONE __1 __2 __3 __4 Number: ___
__more children are anticipated
__no child, but children are anticipated
Adopted children are to be __expressly included, __expressly excluded or __this Will is to be silent on the subject.
__there are grandchildren
Enter the names of the children (and indicate if minor, deceased with issue, by prior marriage, adopted, and any special treatment):






Other relatives (identify father, mother, syblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, etc., and indicate if deceased):





Spouse's relatives (identify father, mother, syblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, etc., and indicate if deceased):





Citizenship and domicile of testator and spouse:

Date and place of birth of testator and spouse:

Title to home:

Approximate assets of the testator: $
Approximate assets of spouse: $
Additional assets anticipated by death (including life insurance proceeds and assets which may be inherited): $
Combined assets: $

Location of safe-deposit box:

Pension/IRA:

Spouse's Pension/IRA:

Life Insurance:


Other Insurance (disability, medical, home owners, automobile, umbrella, malpractice):


Describe any gift giving plans:

__testator is subject to some agreement (e.g., a separation agreement, divorce judment, prenuptial agreement, partnership agreement, shareholders agreement, community property agreement, etc.) which restricts the disposition of the testator's assets:

Month and day the Will is to be executed (or leave blank):

__real estate [or __a coop apartment] is to be disposed of under this Will -
__the spouse is to be the beneficiary of all real estate [__the property is to be sold if spouse predeceases]
__spouse (__or someone else) is to have just a life estate [__in just the house]:
__just the house to the spouse (other real estate to pass in residuary estate)
__all real estate is to pass in residuary estate
__all real estate is to be sold
__to one or more other beneficiaries (identify beneficiaries and shares if unequal):

Identify the property:

How are the personal effects and other tangible personal property to be bequeathed -
__all to the spouse
__as per a schedule (items not specified to the spouse) __and using a personal property memoranda (authorized in AK AR AZ CO DE FL HI ID IA KS MA ME MI MN MO MT ND NE NJ NM SC TX UT VA WA WY)
__as per a schedule (items not specified to pass in residuary estate)
__all to the children
__as provided with regard to the residuary estate
__all to one beneficiary (enter name):
__OTHER
Enter the specifics:



Wills rarely contain any of the following -
__a pour over of assets to an existing trust (property to be included, name and date of the trust)
__the exercise of a power of appointment given by a third party instrument (identify title and date of instrument, beneficiaries to be designated, outright vs trust)
__a charitable trust (wholly charitable vs lead vs remainder trust, annuity vs unitrust, property to be included, identity of charity and lead or remainder beneficiary, percentage per annum)
__a supplemental needs trust (identify the beneficiary and property to be used to fund the trust, and whether the state is to be reimburse for Medicaid expenses after the death of the beneficiary)
__a pre-residuary trust for a minor or minors (beneficiaries, amounts or property)
__the purchase of an annuity (beneficiaries, amounts)
__a trust for one or more pet
__use the family-owned business deduction or a pre-residuary disposition of a family-owned business
Enter the specifics:



__there are to be specific cash bequests (enter amounts and beneficiaries):



The residuary estate is to be bequeathed as follows -
__to the spouse outright
__if spouse predeceases, to issue per stirpes
__a marital deduction trust f/b/o spouse
__QTIP, __QTIP with limited power of appointment, __general power of appointment, __an "estate" trust
__spouse is foreign person (so QDT is to be created)
__spouse is to have $5,000/5% right to invade
__a minimum bequest to spouse (disinheriting spouse to the extent permitted by law) [balance to __the children or __other beneficiaries]
__to children and issue of the testator, per stirpes [__outright or __in trust]
__to one beneficiary outright
__to one beneficiary in trust
__to more than one beneficiary, in __equal or __unequal shares, either outright or in trust
Enter any specifics:




__designate alternate beneficiaries (as opposed to having residuary estate pass as if the testator died intestate). The alternate beneficiary may be an individual, entity or group of people, and you can designate a series of successor alternate beneficiaries:





A beneficiary must have attained what age to be entitled to receive a bequest outright -
__18 __19 __21 __25 __30
__25 but 1/2 of the legacy is to be released when 21
__30 but 1/3 is to be released when 21, and 1/3 when 25
__35 but 1/3 is to be released when 25, and 1/3 when 30
__Other:

If a child of the testator is a minor, are bequests to the child to be -
__paid, at the ELECTION of the executor, to the child, a guardian or a custodian under a Uniform Gifts To Minors Act, OR the executor may hold the bequest in trust (usually this option is best)
__held in trust [by __a TRUSTEE or __the executor] until child attains majority
Appoint as executor -
__the spouse
__the spouse and a co-executor
__the spouse and one or more successor executor
__one executor
__one executor and one or more successor executor
__two co-executors
If a co-executor fails to qualify -
__the other may act alone
__the other may appoint a new co-executor
__another co-executor is to be designated in this Will
Enter the name(s) and relationship to the testator:






IF THERE IS TO BE A TRUST -
Appoint -
__one trustee
__one trustee and one or more successor trustee
__two co-trustees
If a co-trustee fails to qualify -
__the other may act alone
__the other may appoint a new co-trustee
__another co-trustee is to be designated in this Will
Enter the name(s) and relationship to the testator:





__a different trustee is to be appointed for a different trust - identify the trustee and the trust and whether a bond is required:

__a trustee is also a beneficiary (if so, you should have a co-trustee)
__omit "decisions of trustee are conclusive" clause
__a majority of beneficiaries may remove a trustee and appoint a successor (who is not "related or subordinate" within the meaning of 26 U.S.C. 672(c)) - __with the exception of the following trust(s):
__income beneficiary is to be entitled to demand each year $5,000 or 5% of the principal of the trust
__create a single trust, rather than separate trusts, for minor children (permitting unequal payments)
__if a minor grandchild becomes a beneficiary, bequest must be held in trust (discretion to release to grandchild or guardian is preferable)
__trustee may liquidate a trust for a minor to the minor's guardian - __only if trust principal is less than $
__appoint one or more "Trust Protectors" with powers to remove testators, amend trusts, and take other actions to further assure that the intent of the testator is carried out - Name(s) and address(es) of Trust Protector(s):


If there are minor children, does the testator wish to appoint -
__one guardian
__a guardian and one or more successor guardians
__two co-guardians
__no guardian is to be appointed in this Will
__different guardians are to be appointed for different children
__a bond is to be required of a specific guardian
__and appoint a conservator of the children's property (in appropriate jurisdictions)
Enter the name(s) and relationship:





__prepare a short form of Will

Re the survivorship clause -
__the spouse is to be deemed to survive a common accident (may reduce estate taxes to be paid by a couple by shifting assets to the spouse pursuant to the marital deduction, appropriate where testator's assets are large and spouse's assets are modest)
__survivorship is to be based on surviving for a prescribed number of days - __30 days/__other:
Only rarely do you -
__apportion estate taxes
__provide for per capita, rather than per stirpes, distributions
__require a bond from executor
__request executor to waive his commission
__use a bank's or trust company's commission schedule
__waiver an inventory and account of proceedings
__direct payment or prepayment of debts
__state preferences regarding investments - __income vs __growth / __diversification is a priority
__expressly treat disclaimers of bequests
__expressly disinherit one or more persons (other than the spouse) - name(s):
__include an "in terrorem" clause (there may be questions of enforceability in some jurisdiction)
__include a "virtual representation" clause to minimize need for guardian at litem in any proceeding [__approval by adult beneficiaries is to bind minor beneficiaries]
__include a rule against perpetuities savings clause
__have Will recommend your firm as attorney
__separate agreement with spouse not to modify this Will and/or not to claim an elective share
ANCILLARY DOCUMENTS -
__a "living will" (withdrawing medical treatment if the testator is terminally ill) - Enter names, addresses and tele. no. of agent or agents (including the spouse) to act if testator is incapacitated, and whether agents are successor or alternate agents, and whether any organs are to be donated:



__a statement re funeral arrangements - __cremation, __medical or scientific purposes, __buried with military honors, __other:

__a general or special power of attorney - __expressly to survive incompetence, __power to make gifts[__limited to annual exclusion, __but exempt tuition and medical expenses not so limited], __authority for tax matters, __sell a specific parcel of real property, __power to amend trusts, __power to create trusts f/b/o the testator (such as qualified income trust to qualify for Medicaid) - Name(s) and address(es) of attorney-in-fact, and if more than one whether they are successors or alternate:



__execution instructions, family tree affidavit and asset summary
__a community property agreement (in appropriate jurisdictions) [__preserve some property as separate property]



_________________________________________________________



WILL QUESTIONNAIRE
(for clients with assets over $500,000)

Name of the testator:
Address:

__male __female
__married[__once/__several] __widow(er) __divorced __single
__previously made a Will - date(s):

Telephone number(s):
Soc. Sec. No.:
Occupation/Employment/Business:

Military status: __in service __a spouse of person in service __a dependent of person in service __retired from service __stationed outside of state of domicile - place:

Advisors (accountant, insurance agent, physician, investment advisor, banker, clergyman):




Name of spouse:

Soc. Sec. No.:
Spouse's Occupation/Employment/Business:

Information re prior marriages:


Children: __NONE __1 __2 __3 __4 Number: ___
__more children are anticipated
__no child, but children are anticipated
Adopted children are to be __expressly included, __expressly excluded or __this Will is to be silent on the subject.
__there are grandchildren
Enter the names of the children (and indicate if minor, deceased with issue, by prior marriage, adopted, and any special treatment):






Other relatives (identify father, mother, syblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, etc., and indicate if deceased):





Spouse's relatives (identify father, mother, syblings, nieces/nephews, cousins, etc., and indicate if deceased):





Citizenship and domicile of testator and spouse:

Date and place of birth of testator and spouse:

Title to home:

Approximate assets of the testator: $
Approximate assets of spouse: $
Additional assets anticipated by death (including life insurance proceeds and assets which may be inherited): $
Combined assets: $

Location of safe-deposit box:

Pension/IRA:

Spouse's Pension/IRA:

Life Insurance:


Other Insurance (disability, medical, home owners, automobile, umbrella, malpractice):


Describe any gift giving plans (and use of gift tax exclusion which currently is $5,000,000):

__testator is subject to some agreement (e.g., a separation agreement, divorce judment, prenuptial agreement, partnership agreement, shareholders agreement, community property agreement, etc.) which restricts the disposition of the testator's assets:

Month and day the Will is to be executed (or leave blank):

__real estate [or __a coop apartment] is to be disposed of under this Will -
__the spouse is to be the beneficiary of all real estate [__the property is to be sold if spouse predeceases]
__spouse (__or someone else) is to have just a life estate [__in just the house]:
__just the house to the spouse (other real estate to pass in residuary estate)
__all real estate is to pass in residuary estate
__all real estate is to be sold
__to one or more other beneficiaries (identify beneficiaries and shares if unequal):

Identify the property:

How are the personal effects and other tangible personal property to be bequeathed -
__all to the spouse
__as per a schedule (items not specified to the spouse) __and using a personal property memoranda (authorized in AK AR AZ CO DE FL HI ID IA KS MA ME MI MN MO MT ND NE NJ NM SC TX UT VA WA WY)
__as per a schedule (items not specified to pass in residuary estate)
__all to the children
__as provided with regard to the residuary estate
__all to one beneficiary (enter name):
__OTHER
Enter the specifics:



Wills rarely contain any of the following -
__a pour over of assets to an existing trust (property to be included, name and date of the trust)
__the exercise of a power of appointment given by a third party instrument (identify title and date of instrument, beneficiaries to be designated, outright vs trust)
__a charitable trust (wholly charitable vs lead vs remainder trust, annuity vs unitrust, property to be included, identity of charity and lead or remainder beneficiary, percentage per annum)
__a supplemental needs trust (identify the beneficiary and property to be used to fund the trust, and whether the state is to be reimburse for Medicaid expenses after the death of the beneficiary)
__a pre-residuary trust for a minor or minors (beneficiaries, amounts or property)
__the purchase of an annuity (beneficiaries, amounts)
__a trust for one or more pet
__use the family-owned business deduction or a pre-residuary disposition of a family-owned business
Enter the specifics:



__there are to be specific cash bequests (enter amounts and beneficiaries):



NOTE: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 set the estate tax at 40% on estates over $5,000,000, indexed for inflation. It also deleted the 12/31/2012 "sunset provisions" from the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 and the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 so that unification of the estate tax exclusion amount, gift tax exemption and GST exemption would continue at $5,000,000, subject to indexing. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the exclusion amount and exemptions, effective 1/1/2018. The exclusion amount and exemptions again are indexed, i.e., currently $10,980,000 for a single person and $21,960,000 for a couple. The estate tax exclusion amount continues to be "portable" -- the basic exclusion amount of a surviving spouse may be increased by the unused exclusion amount of the deceased spouse, letting a couple exclude $21,960,000 from the federal estate tax, without having to use a credit shelter trust. Future legislation may again change the Federal tax laws. And state estate and inheritance tax laws have been and may continue to be in flux. Flexibility remains an important objective when drafting wills and trusts.
Several types of trusts can give flexibility to an estate plan. Creating a credit shelter trust (bypass trust) that is funded only to the extent the spouse elects to disclaim a bequest lets the spouse decide what's best at the time. Or one can put a dollar cap on the amount of the credit shelter trust. Or if you create a marital deduction trust with QTIP provisions, instead of a credit shelter trust, the fiduciary rather than the spouse can decide what's best after the client dies. Or the creation of a credit shelter trust can be contingent upon the exclusion amount in effect when the client dies.
If the spouse is not a U.S. citizen you can elect to prepare a marital deduction trust with qualified domestic trust provisions so that estate taxes (if any) may be avoided.

__create a credit shelter trust -
__fund trust with the maximum available credit vs __amount that spouse disclaims (frequently used) or __fixed amount: $
__use state death tax credit EVEN IF it increases death taxes payable (usually no, unless increased taxes are small compared to tax savings for estate of spouse)
__if funded with the maximum available credit, put a dollar cap on said amount: $
__or limit to a percentage of the estate:

__credit shelter trust is not to created if upon the death of the testator (1) the exclusion amount is $5,000,000 or greater and (2) a surviving spouse can use the unused exclusion amount of a deceased spouse (since the credit shelter trust is not needed to avoid federal estate taxes if that law is still in effect)
__a disinterested executor may transfer assets from the credit shelter trust tobr a marital deduction trust to reduce state death taxes
__credit shelter trust is to be a pre-residuary bequest, with the marital deduction trust as the residuary estate (usually best) [vs __credit shelter trust as the residuary or __fractional share]
__use date of distribution values rather than the values determined for Federal estate tax purposes
__f/b/o spouse [__f/b/o spouse and children, sprinkling]

__spouse is to have a limited power of appointment
__spouse is to have $5,000/5% right to invade [__exercisable only on December 31st of each year so that 5% of the credit shelter trust is not included in spouse's estate]
__f/b/o children [__cash bequest, __trust for minors, __in trust throughout lives of children]
__f/b/o other beneficiaries [__cash bequest, __trust if minor, __in trust throughout life] If the spouse is not a U.S. citizen you can elect to prepare a marital deduction trust with qualified domestic trust provisions so that estate taxes (if any) may be avoided.
Enter specifics:


The residuary estate is to be bequeathed as follows -
__to the spouse outright
__if spouse predeceases, to issue per stirpes
__a marital deduction trust f/b/o spouse [__QTIP, __QTIP with limited power of appointment, __general power of appointment, __an "estate" trust]
__spouse is foreign person (so QDT is to be created)
__spouse is to have $5,000/5% right to invade
__if annual income is less than a specific percentage of principal, spouse is to receive not less than that minimum percent - __6%/__other:
__executor to allocate the generation-skipping transfer (GST) exemption [and __expressly create a separate QTIP trust for the GST exemption in excess of the credit shelter trust, __merely authorize splitting of trusts to allocate the exemption, __authorize trustee to confer general power of appointment on children so that they may make gifts to grandchildren not subject to the GST tax]
__a minimum bequest to spouse (disinheriting spouse to the extent permitted by law) [balance to __the children or __other beneficiaries]
__to children and issue of the testator, per stirpes [__outright or __in trust]
__to one beneficiary outright
__to one beneficiary in trust
__to more than one beneficiary, in __equal or __unequal shares, either outright or in trust
Enter any specifics:




__designate alternate beneficiaries (as opposed to having residuary estate pass as if the testator died intestate). The alternate beneficiary may be an individual, entity or group of people, and you can designate a series of successor alternate beneficiaries:





A beneficiary must have attained what age to be entitled to receive a bequest outright -
__18 __19 __21 __25 __30
__25 but 1/2 of the legacy is to be released when 21
__30 but 1/3 is to be released when 21, and 1/3 when 25
__35 but 1/3 is to be released when 25, and 1/3 when 30
__Other:

If a child of the testator is a minor, are bequests to the child to be -
__paid, at the ELECTION of the executor, to the child, a guardian or a custodian under a Uniform Gifts To Minors Act, OR the executor may hold the bequest in trust (usually this option is best)
__held in trust [by __a TRUSTEE or __the executor] until child attains majority
Appoint as executor -
__the spouse
__the spouse and a co-executor
__the spouse and one or more successor executor
__one executor
__one executor and one or more successor executor
__two co-executors
If a co-executor fails to qualify -
__the other may act alone
__the other may appoint a new co-executor
__another co-executor is to be designated in this Will
Enter the name(s) and relationship to the testator:






IF THERE IS TO BE A TRUST -
Appoint -
__one trustee
__one trustee and one or more successor trustee
__two co-trustees
If a co-trustee fails to qualify -
__the other may act alone
__the other may appoint a new co-trustee
__another co-trustee is to be designated in this Will
Enter the name(s) and relationship to the testator:





__a different trustee is to be appointed for a different trust - identify the trustee and the trust and whether a bond is required:

__a trustee is also a beneficiary (if so, you should have a co-trustee)
__omit "decisions of trustee are conclusive" clause
__a majority of beneficiaries may remove a trustee and appoint a successor (who is not "related or subordinate" within the meaning of 26 U.S.C. 672(c)) - __with the exception of the following trust(s):
__income beneficiary is to be entitled to demand each year $5,000 or 5% of the principal of the trust
__create a single trust, rather than separate trusts, for minor children (permitting unequal payments)
__if a minor grandchild becomes a beneficiary, bequest must be held in trust (discretion to release to grandchild or guardian is preferable)
__trustee may liquidate a trust for a minor to the minor's guardian - __only if trust principal is less than $
__appoint one or more "Trust Protectors" with powers to remove testators, amend trusts, and take other actions to further assure that the intent of the testator is carried out - Name(s) and address(es) of Trust Protector(s):


If there are minor children, does the testator wish to appoint -
__one guardian
__a guardian and one or more successor guardians
__two co-guardians
__no guardian is to be appointed in this Will
__different guardians are to be appointed for different children
__a bond is to be required of a specific guardian
__and appoint a conservator of the children's property (in appropriate jurisdictions)
Enter the name(s) and relationship:





__prepare a short form of Will

Re the survivorship clause -
__the spouse is to be deemed to survive a common accident (may reduce estate taxes to be paid by a couple by shifting assets to the spouse pursuant to the marital deduction, appropriate where testator's assets are large and spouse's assets are modest)
__survivorship is to be based on surviving for a prescribed number of days - __30 days/__other:
Only rarely do you -
__apportion estate taxes
__provide for per capita, rather than per stirpes, distributions
__permit 2207A election (re taxes if testator is beneficiary of QTIP trust)
__require a bond from executor
__request executor to waive his commission
__use a bank's or trust company's commission schedule
__waiver an inventory and account of proceedings
__direct payment or prepayment of debts
__state preferences regarding investments - __income vs __growth / __diversification is a priority
__expressly treat disclaimers of bequests
__expressly disinherit one or more persons (other than the spouse) - name(s):
__include an "in terrorem" clause (there may be questions of enforceability in some jurisdiction)
__GST allocation
__include a "virtual representation" clause to minimize need for guardian at litem in any proceeding [__approval by adult beneficiaries is to bind minor beneficiaries]
__include a rule against perpetuities savings clause
__Subchapter S stock may be needed to fund a trust (see IRC 1361)
__powers re oil, gas and mineral rights
__have Will recommend your firm as attorney
__separate agreement with spouse not to modify this Will and/or not to claim an elective share
__suggest filing an estate tax return to make unused exclusion amount portable
ANCILLARY DOCUMENTS -
__a "living will" (withdrawing medical treatment if the testator is terminally ill) - Enter names, addresses and tele. no. of agent or agents (including the spouse) to act if testator is incapacitated, and whether agents are successor or alternate agents, and whether any organs are to be donated:



__a statement re funeral arrangements - __cremation, __medical or scientific purposes, __buried with military honors, __other:

__a general or special power of attorney - __expressly to survive incompetence, __power to make gifts[__limited to annual exclusion, __but exempt tuition and medical expenses not so limited], __authority for tax matters, __sell a specific parcel of real property, __power to amend trusts, __power to create trusts f/b/o the testator (such as qualified income trust to qualify for Medicaid) - Name(s) and address(es) of attorney-in-fact, and if more than one whether they are successors or alternate:



__execution instructions, family tree affidavit and asset summary
__a community property agreement (in appropriate jurisdictions) [__preserve some property as separate property]