Paralegal Essentials – Estate Planning (Part 1)

When a client comes in to discuss estate planning, it is important to know what questions to ask to better understand the estate plan which the client has in place, and to help them develop an estate plan that will accomplish what they wish to accomplish when they die.  The following are some of the types of questions that might be useful:
  • What property does the client have that would be the subject of an estate plan (whether or not the client has one)?
  • How is that property titled?  (e.g. Joint tenancy, community property, etc.)
  • Does any existing estate plan control that property?
  • Is this how the client wants things to be?
  • What is the character of the property I own (community, separate or quasi-community)?
  • What additional planning does the client want?
  • What additional planning does the attorney recommend for the client?

Once you have the answers to some of these questions, the attorney can better advise a client regarding creation of an estate plan or any changes or modifications that need to be made to the existing plan.

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