Sunday, November 15, 2015

ABA’s new book “Wills and Estate Administration” By Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.

   By Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
Straightforward and to-the-point, Wills and Estate Administration provides step-by-step guidance that firms can use to handle all aspects of an estates practice, from initial client intake to closing the file. Topics are defined in six parts for ease of use:
   Preparation for Wills/Estate Planning Interviews
   Interviewing Clients
   Additional Estate Planning Issues
   Estate Administration
   Guardianship of Disabled or Incompetent Parents
   Marketing Your Wills and Estate Administration Practice
     Making this an essential resource for solo and small firm practitioners, the author includes numerous forms for each topic, and they are also available for download online. The book is basic and written to help new and transitional attorneys. In addition, tips on practice management will help seasoned attorneys.

Author: Kenneth A Vercammen Edison, NJ
   List Price: $79.95

ABA Price: $69.95
ISBN: 978-1-63425-380-2
Product Code: 5150484
2015, 290 pages, 7 x 10, Paperback
    
ABA Service Hotline800-285-2221
312-988-5000

   Sample chapter available http://shop.americanbar.org

"Have just finished Ken Vercammen's excellent book on Wills, Estate Administration, and Guardianship. It is a very practical book that examines the business of an estate and trust practice. This step-by-step analysis is complete with forms and helps even the seasoned practitioner streamline his practice."
-Thomas D. Begley, Jr., Esq., Begley Law Office, NJ

About the Author: Kenneth A. Vercammen is a trial attorney in Edison, NJ. He is co-chair of the ABA Probate & Estate Planning Law Committee of the American Bar Association Solo Small Firm Division.  The is the author of the ABA book “Wills and Estate Administration, available at http://shop.americanbar.org/.”
He is a speaker for the NJ State Bar Association at the annual Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law & Estate Administration program. 
He was Editor of the ABA Estate Planning Probate Committee Newsletter. Mr. Vercammen has published over 150 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on Wills, litigation, estates, probate law and trial topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation and probate law for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He established the NJlaws website www.njlaws.com which includes many articles on Estate Planning, Probate and Wills.
KENNETH  VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
 (Fax)    732-572-0030
www.njlaws.com
http://www.njwillsprobatelaw.com

Table of Contents ABA’s new book “Wills and Estate Administration”

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi
PART 1
Preparation for Wills/Estate Planning Interviews . . . . . . . . . . 1
Handling Telephone Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Initial Responses to Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Calls from New Clients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Subject Matter of Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Reminder Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Telephone Consultations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Rejected Cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Referrals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Estate Planning Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Fees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Exhibit 1-1: Will Appointment Cover Letter . . . . . . . . . . 7
Exhibit 1-2: Estate Planning Appointment Cover
Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Exhibit 1-3: New Client Cover Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Exhibit 1-4: New Client Questionnaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Exhibit 1-5: Confidential Will Questionnaire . . . . . . . . 14
Exhibit 1-6: Estate Planning Questionnaire . . . . . . . . . . 21
Exhibit 1-7: Power of Attorney Questionnaire . . . . . . . 26
Exhibit 1-8: Will Estate Planning Consult Bill . . . . . . . 29
Exhibit 1-9: Agreement to Provide Estate Planning
Legal Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
PART 2
Interviewing Clients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Initial Appointments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Wills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Importance of Wills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Will Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Will Clauses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
IV Wills and Estate Administration
Preparing Drafts of Estate Planning Documents . . . . . . . . . 40
Guardianship of Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Need for Periodic Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Cost Reductions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Revisions in Wills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Children from Prior Marriages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Separated or Divorced Persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Gay and Lesbian Clients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Referring Cases Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Explaining Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Will Preparation Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Power of Attorney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Importance of Power of Attorney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Gift-Giving Clause . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Going into Effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Living Wills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Statute Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Health Care Representative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Advance Directives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Organ Donor Option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Estate Planning for Alzheimer’s Patients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
The Missing Client—Be Wary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Tax Matters and Credit Shelter Trust Preparations . . . . . . . . . . . 64
What Is a Credit Shelter Trust? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
State Estate Taxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Document Signings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Wills Signings Outside Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Follow-up after Signing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Newsletter to Clients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Referrals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Uniform Probate Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
Exhibit 2-1: Will—Husband to Wife with Trust for
Minor Children and Guardians Selection . . . . . . . . 83
Exhibit 2-2: Will—Widow/Widower Spouse with
Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Exhibit 2-3: Will—Unmarried Couple with No
Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Exhibit 2-4: Will—Basic to Spouse and Children
with No Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Contents v
Exhibit 2-5: Will—Unified Credit Trust to Reduce
Estate Taxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Exhibit 2-6: Will Revision Services Bill . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Exhibit 2-7: Codicil to Will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Exhibit 2-8: Will Services Bill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Exhibit 2-9: General Durable Power of Attorney
Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Exhibit 2-10: Revocation of Previous Wills and
Powers of Attorney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Exhibit 2-11: Living Will and Durable Power of
Attorney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Exhibit 2-12: Power of Attorney Taking Effect . . . . . 119
Exhibit 2-13: Will Draft Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Exhibit 2-14: Will Signings Outside Office . . . . . . . . . 123
Exhibit 2-15: Post-Will Signing Letter to Clients . . . . 125
Exhibit 2-16: Client End-of-Case Questionnaire . . . . 128
Exhibit 2-17: Brochure Request Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Exhibit 2-18: Referral Thank You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
PART 3
Additional Estate Planning Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Preparation of Letters of Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Content of Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Confidentiality of Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment . . . . . . . 138
Patient Information Disclosure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Prenuptial Agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
Problems of Probate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Revocable Living Trusts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Transferring Property into the Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Irrevocable Trusts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Marital Tax Deductions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Special Needs Trusts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Medicaid Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Impact of Divorce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Medicaid Spend-Down and the Mentally Incompetent . . 151
Long-Term Care Expenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Questions to Ask about Long-Term Coverage . . . . . . . . . 152
VI Wills and Estate Administration
Signing House Over to Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Providing for Pets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Unexpected Illness/Disability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Exhibit 3-1: Letter of Last Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Exhibit 3-2: Confidentiality of Files/Requests for
Copies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Exhibit 3-3: Acknowledgment of Receipt of
Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Exhibit 3-4: HIPAA Authorization to Disclose
Patient Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Exhibit 3-5: Irrevocable Trust [Wife to Husband] . . . 167
PART 4
Estate Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
Filing a Probate Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Qualifying the Executor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
Probate Notices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
Inheritance Renunciation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Assets That Do Not Pass under a Will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Tax Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Finalizing the Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Testamentary Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Consulting Fees for Probate Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Intestacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
Elective Share of Spouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Undue Influence Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Caveat to Will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
Removing an Executor of an Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
Complaint for Accounting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
Executor’s Commissions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Unsold Real Estate and Other Property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Exhibit 4-1: Condolence/Will Revision Letter . . . . . . 202
Exhibit 4-2: Probate/Inheritance/Estate
Administration Questionnaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
Exhibit 4-3: Retainer Cover Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
Exhibit 4-4: Agreement to Provide Probate Legal
Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
Exhibit 4-5: Executor Duties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
Contents vii
Exhibit 4-6: Notice of Probate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Exhibit 4-7: Certificate of Mailing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Exhibit 4-8: Transfer Inheritance Tax Bureau
Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Exhibit 4-9: Release and Refunding Bond
Letter/Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Exhibit 4-10: Real Estate Waiver Filing . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
Exhibit 4-11: Agreement to Provide Legal
Services—Probate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Exhibit 4-12: Will/Estate Consultation Bill . . . . . . . . . 231
Exhibit 4-13: Renunciation for Administration . . . . . . 232
Exhibit 4-14: Complaint to Remove Executor,
Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Exhibit 4-15: Complaint to Replace Executor . . . . . . 245
PART 5
Guardianship of Disabled or Incompetent Parents . . . . . . . 249
Exhibit 5-1: Guardianship Interview Form . . . . . . . . . 252
Exhibit 5-2: Guardianship Legal Services Fees . . . . . 257
Exhibit 5-3: Complaint for Guardianship . . . . . . . . . . 260
Exhibit 5-4: Affidavit of Next of Kin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
Exhibit 5-5: Letters to Doctors to Be Delivered
by Client . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
Exhibit 5-6: Affidavit of Doctor 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
PART 6
Marketing Your Wills and Estate Administration
Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
Seminars Sponsored by Community Organizations . . . . . . . . 265
Hosting Seminars in Your Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
Seminar Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
Seminar Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
American Association of Retired Persons Membership . . . . . 267
Happy Hour Networking with Professionals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
Marketing via Websites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
Setting up a Blog on Wills and Probate for Free . . . . . . . . 268
Gift Certificates for Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Maintaining Client Contact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
viii Wills and Estate Administration
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Exhibit 6-1: Sample Letter to Senior Groups . . . . . . . 271
Exhibit 6-2: Confirm Will Seminar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
Exhibit 6-3: Sample Flyer for Will Seminar . . . . . . . . 275
Exhibit 6-4: Items to Bring to Wills and Elder Law
Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Exhibit 6-5: Law Office Seminar Promotional
Flyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Exhibit 6-6: Wills and Estate Administration
Seminar Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278

About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279

1 comment:

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