This page addresses some of the questions that existing and potential FlexDraft customers ask (or should ask).

FlexDraft & Microsoft Windows

What Windows versions is FlexDraft compatible with?

So far as I know, as of today (May 1, 2012), FlexDraft is compatible with virtually every version of Windows used in law offices.  (The
Windows compatibility problems FlexDraft has had over the last several years appear to have been solved, as discussed below.)

Specifically, FlexDraft is compatible with:
  • Windows XP (all editions)
  • Windows Vista Professional Edition (32-bit version)
  • Windows 7 Professional Edition (both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions)
FlexDraft is NOT compatible with:
  • Windows Vista Home Edition
  • Windows 7 Home Edition
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What's necessary to setup FlexDraft in Windows XP?

If you use Windows XP (any edition), you simply need to install FlexDraft normally.  

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What's necessary to setup FlexDraft in Windows 7 Professional?

By all accounts,
FlexDraft is compatible with Windows 7 32-bit and Windows 7 64-bit, so long as you have the Professional Edition with XP-Mode.   Many business systems come with XP-Mode pre-installed.  Some systems have "Virtual PC with XP Mode" pre-installed (which is presumably better than XP Mode by itself). If you don't have "XP-Mode" or "Virtual PC with XP-Mode", you need to get it.  Here is a link to the Windows Virtual PC web page, which provides additional information and lets you download "XP Mode" and "Windows Virtual PC" for free.

After you've properly installed
"XP-Mode" or "Virtual PC with XP-Mode", download and run the FlexDraft setup program.  (You'll probably need to do this from within your "Virtual XP machine"; i.e., in the window representing XP Mode on your computer).
What about previous Windows compatibility issues?

The following discussion is not necessary reading.  I've included it--
  • for I.T. professionals who are interested in technical details, 
  • for FlexDraft users who want to understand why it is possible to run FlexDraft under Windows 7 Professional 64-bit when it was not possible to do so the last time they tried, and
  • for historical purposes.
FlexDraft is a "16-bit App."  FlexDraft is a so-called 16-bit application.  16-bit technology is old technology and it's the reason the FlexDraft interface is boring:  It's not designed to do dancing paperclips, fancy graphics, etc. 16-bit technology is also very lean -- almost simplistic by today's standards -- and that's one of the reasons FlexDraft is so extremely fast and reliable: All its attention is devoted to the accurate production of estate planning documents.

Windows XP & prior versions fully supported 16-bit apps.   When Windows started life it was a 16-bit application that ran inside the DOS operating system.  Windows and FlexDraft worked together seamlessly because they both operated in the 16-bit world of DOS.  As Windows evolved it became a full fledged operating system, and it moved to the 32-bit / 64-bit world, in which 16-bit apps aren't generally welcome. However, up through and including Windows XP, Microsoft included built-in support for 16-bit applications which enabled continued use of FlexDraft (and thousands of other great 16-bit apps that are still widely used).  Thus, FlexDraft works great with pretty much all Windows versions and editions through XP (2003).

16-bit support initially contracted after Windows XP.  At this point in the story it is very difficult to verify the details, so the following may not be 100% accurate.  I believe, however, that:  Beginning with Windows Vista Microsoft limited support for 16-bit apps to 
the Professional Edition only.  When 64-bit versions of Windows were initially released, they provided no support for 16-bit apps.  Thus, there was a period during which it was impossible to run 16-bit apps -- like FlexDraft -- in 64-bit versions of Windows.  And even though 32-bit Professional Edition versions continued to facilitate 16-bit app support, it was no longer a built-in part of Windows; you had to download additional software, known then as "Virtual PC", from the Microsoft web site. (Fortunately, it was free.)  Needless to say, this was not a happy time for FlexDraft because it appeared Microsoft would soon end all support for 16-bit apps in Windows.

16-bit support subsequently expanded after  . . .  a while.  I also believe that, at some point, maybe a year or so after the initial release of Windows 7, Microsoft enhanced Windows' support for 16-bit applications:
  • The original version of "Virtual PC" appears to have been renamed as "Virtual PC 2007" and is still used to support 16-bit applications with , e.g., Windows Vista Professional.
  • Two new products were released, "Windows XP Mode" and "Windows Virtual PC", which support FlexDraft (and other 16-bit apps) in Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (and also improve 16-bit support in 32-bit Windows). This was a great development.  It would have been great news too except for the utter lack of fanfare. I learned about it (perhaps a year after the fact?) when I went  to their web site to verify that Virtual PC was not available for 64-bit Windows, only to discover that was no longer the case. 
  • It's easy to get confused about XP Mode and Virtual PC; they are very closely related but distinct.  As of May 2012, Microsoft's Virtual PC FAQs page includes the following statements that may help to understand their respective roles (the emphasis is mine):
    • "Windows XP Mode is a new benefit of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate and provides additional application compatibility. It allows you to install and run many of your productivity applications for Windows XP directly from your Windows 7-based PC. It utilizes virtualization technology, such as Windows Virtual PC, to provide a virtual Windows XP environment for Windows 7."  
    • "Windows Virtual PC is the latest Microsoft virtualization technology designed for Windows 7. It is the runtime engine for Windows XP Mode to provide a virtual Windows environment for Windows 7. With Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP Mode applications can be seen and accessed from a Windows 7-based PC."
  • It appears possible to install just XP Mode, just Virtual PC, or both.  However, in order to run FlexDraft on a Windows 7 computer it must have XP Mode installed. However, you might not have to install it yourself:  Many business systems come with XP Mode already built-in.  
  • You can run XP Mode without Virtual PC but it appears that XP Mode runs faster if you also have Virtual PC; this appears especially likely for newer computers -- those that were specifically built for Windows 7 and that have "hardware virtualization". 
A 64 bit version of FlexDraft?  For a couple of years now I've been analyzing the options for bringing FlexDraft into the 32 bit / 64 bit world.  It will have to happen:  I depend on FlexDraft for preparation of my Wills and trusts as much as any FlexDraft customer and I have no intention of retiring from the practice of law anytime soon.  Perhaps within a year or two I'll have some portion of FlexDraft moved to a 64-bit platform.

FlexDraft, WordPerfect & Word

With which versions of WordPerfect and Word is FlexDraft compatible?

I'm pretty sure FlexDraft can be used with all versions of WordPerfect and all versions of Microsoft Word.  I've only tested WordPerfect through version X4 but a few users say they've used it with X5 (and I know of no reason X5 would cause any complications).  I've tested Microsoft Word through Word 2010.  

FlexDraft Editions

Express Edition

The Express Edition includes Wills and revocable trusts with no tax planning, disclaimer planning, & marital/bypass planning, and "ancillary documents" (advance directives, and Declarations of Guardians for children). 

Standard Edition

The Standard Edition includes features of the Express edition plus: second generation planning (a/k/a "GST planning"), 2503(c) Trusts, ILIT's (Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts) & irrevocable "Gift Trusts." 

Professional Edition

The Professional Edition includes all the features of the Standard edition plus: client letters & memos, "exit" memos for ILITs & irrevocable Gift Trusts, and other documents as may be added from time to time.  
Which one is right for you; how do you choose?

The Standard Edition is probably the right choice for "occasional" estate planners, i.e., general practitioners and other attorneys who draft "core" documents (Wills, revocable trusts and advance directives) several times per year but prepare irrevocable trusts only now and then (or not at all).  (
The Standard Edition is the most popular.)

If you do several estate plans (sophisticated or simple) per month, the Professional Edition makes sense.  This is because in my view, the most important additional feature of the Professional Edition is the "exit memos", particularly the exit memos for irrevocable trusts; without FlexDraft these can easily take longer to prepare than the trust instruments themselves but the Professional Edition can prepare them in seconds.  On the other hand, if you average less than 1 ILIT every 2 years, the Professional Edition might not be worth the extra cost.

The Express Edition is the right choice for users whose estate planning drafting needs are very limited and likely to stay that way, e.g., attorneys whose estate planning practice has declined and/or who prepare only simple core documents.  Personally, I believe the Express Edition is not appropriate for young attorneys, or those who are new to estate planning or in the process of developing their estate planning practice.  I realize that attorneys in these circumstances may select the Express Edition because
they're on tight budgets. True, the Express Edition is cheap; but I believe its limited features would significantly impair any attorney's efforts to develop a worthwhile estate planning practice.

The best way to make your choice is to
try FlexDraft via the Free Trial and decide for yourself which features you want.

Free Trial Edition

The Free Trial Edition includes all the features of the Professional Edition -- with certain limitations (e.g., clients can only have 2 children).

Is there a free trial for the Professional edition?

Yes.  Existing users of the Standard Edition can activate a 1-time 30 day free trial of the Professional Edition (effectively converting their Standard Edition into the Professional Edition for 30 days).

Payment & licensing

How many licenses should you purchase?

You must have one Attorney License for each attorney in your firm or section who will either use the software or direct a non-attorney who uses the software.  You must have one Non-Attorney License for each additional secretary, legal assistant or other individual who will use the software.  However, for each Attorney License, one assistant to the attorney (a secretary, legal assistant, etc.) may use the software without having his or her own Non-Attorney License, but only if the assistant and the attorney do not use the software simultaneously.

Is there a refund policy?

No.  Once you pay a licensing fee you can't get it back.  
This is why you should get the Free Trial to be sure you really want FlexDraft before you actually purchase a license.  (Accounting for refunds is just too cumbersome; I'd rather let you use it for free for 30 days than offer a refund within the first 30 days.)  
Is a free trial available?

Yes.  Use the Free Trial Order form to order the free trial.

How long does a FlexDraft license last?

Unless otherwise specified, all paid licenses are for - & include free updates for - one year.

Is there a payment plan?

Yes.  All FlexDraft licenses are for 1 year but you can pay for your FlexDraft license in monthly installments, as follows:  One initial installment equal to 1/6th of the total annual fee, due when you purchase your license; followed by 10 monthly installments, beginning 1 month later, each equal to 1/12th of the total annual fee.  (Thus, your installments are paid 1 month ahead.)  A service charge (currently $10) is added to every installment (both initial & monthly).  
You must pay by credit card and authorize FlexDraft to make recurring charges to your card.  You may cancel your license at any time but all remaining installments for the full 1 year license must still be paid.  Each monthly pay license automatically renews for another full year unless you cancel before the due date of the final monthly installment (i.e., the date 10 months after the initial installment & 2 months before the end of the annual license term).

To obtain FlexDraft on the monthly pay plan download the FlexDraft Order form and complete the form on your computer, including the Credit Addendum, and select Monthly pay for your payment option.  The order form will automatically compute the installment amounts.

Is there an upgrade policy?

Yes.  You receive pro-rated credit for the time remaining on your paid-up existing license whenever you
add additional users and/or upgrade to a higher edition.  Your new license will be for a 1 year term commencing on the date you upgrade/add users.

To upgrade your FlexDraft license, contact me and I'll compute the upgrade discount.