The following is an on-line reproduction of a FlexDraft product brochure and provides a good overview and description of FlexDraft's capabilities.

FlexDraft Is From Texas Experts You Know and Trust

Designed and written personally by Barney Jones; edited and approved for content by Mickey Davis, John Ridout and Karen Gerstner; FlexDraft embodies the analysis and expertise of some of the best Estate Planning practitioners in Texas. What does this mean for you?
  • FlexDraft is by Texas lawyers exclusively for Texas lawyers; it addresses the legal issues you face every day as a Texas estate planner. Cf many other systems which are generic, multi-state forms, with Texas law incorporated as an afterthought.

  • FlexDraft is by actual practitioners exclusively for actual practitioners; it offers workable, real world solutions, not untested academic conjecture.

  • FlexDraft is used every day by Davis, Ridout, Jones & Gerstner, L.L.P., for virtually all their Wills and trusts; it's not just a system for sale, it's the system they use and rely on. This gives the author and editorial board (all partners at Davis, Ridout, Jones & Gerstner, L.L.P.) a vested interest in maintaining FlexDraft as a state-of-the art estate planning system.

  • When you switch to FlexDraft, you'll have a forms system you'll be proud to tell colleagues you own.
back to top  

FlexDraft Wills and Trusts Are Client Friendly

Your confidence in FlexDraft derives from your trust in the attorneys who design and maintain it, and your independent review and analysis of its provisions. Your clients' confidence in you derives from their trust in your professionalism and skill, and their comfort with the documents you draft for them. FlexDraft helps build client trust with its client friendly drafting style.
  • Plain English, not legalize, is the language of FlexDraft documents. Your clients will appreciate the concise wording, short sentences, complete lack of "hereinafter's" and "aforesaid's," and concise explanatory headings. More importantly, your clients need not have a law degree to understand their Wills.

  • From the client's perspective, FlexDraft Wills and trusts are "front loaded": All gifts, all trust terms, all fiduciary appointments–virtually everything your clients want to see–is in the first few pages of every FlexDraft Will and trust.

  • The result? No more explanatory memos. Instead, the first few pages of the Will or trust are the explanatory memo. The benefits of avoiding explanatory memos are substantial:

  • Obviously, you save time and money. The memo explaining a Will often takes longer to prepare than the Will itself, yet how many clients are willing to pay double just because (from the client's viewpoint) you couldn't draft understandable documents in the first place?

  • Less obviously, but (I believe) more importantly, you avoid misleading your clients and/or laying the groundwork for a potential Will contest, by giving them a memo which, in truth, really doesn't say the same thing their Will says. (After all, if the memo did say the same thing as the Will, it wouldn't be much use.) When the front of the Will is the memo, this exposure is avoided entirely.
back to top  

FlexDraft Gives You True Document Assembly, Not Just a Stack of Forms

FlexDraft uses an "expert system" approach to document design. What does this mean for you? Consider your options for drafting a Will:
  • An automated forms system limits you to a few dozen pre-selected Will forms. It will probably give you the choice to include or exclude a few features and optional clauses. So long as your clients fit the mold envisioned by the author, you're covered. But if your needs ever exceed the author's imagination, your only option is to take the nearest fit, perhaps cut and paste from several different forms (and hope that the clauses you select are consistent and that you catch all the supporting boilerplate for each clause), and then custom draft your way to the solution your client needs.

  • FlexDraft provides one Will "form" and lets you build it from the ground up, including or excluding as many options and clauses as your needs dictate. But unlike a "pick the clause" form book, FlexDraft's Expert System design guides you through the drafting process with an interactive on screen dialogue, eliminating irrelevant issues, ensuring consistency, and including (and adjusting) the appropriate boilerplate as you go.

  • The result: FlexDraft arms you with a virtual form file of literally thousands of Will and trust forms, each custom tailored to suit your drafting preferences.
back to top  

FlexDraft Delivers Speed and Precision Without Compromise

The expert system design of FlexDraft enables speed and precision:
  • If you really had a thousand Will forms you had to think through to draft a Will, you could count on wasting lots of otherwise billable time. But FlexDraft's expert system design ensures that only relevant questions are posed. As a result, a novice attorney can usually draft a complete, customized estate plan in 30 minutes or less; an expert can usually finish in less than 15.

  • Speed does not come at the price of accuracy. FlexDraft limits errors with several features:

  • On-line explanatory "Resources" that explain numerous questions and options.

  • "Input validation" that helps prevent illogical choices (e.g., if the first vesting age for a trust is 25, it will force the second age to be 26 or older).

  • Built-in logic-checking help ensure reliable quality control.

  • Accuracy at the secretarial level is enhanced with customizable lookup tables and "QuikPics" which enable names and addresses to be input only once, and then pasted throughout the estate plan without retyping.
back to top  

FlexDraft Let's You Do Your Job Better, Without Forcing You to Do Your Secretary's Job

Have you ever noticed how some office automation tools transform lawyers into secretaries? Document drafting systems often combine drafting (the lawyer's job) with data entry (the secretary's job). There's nothing more wasteful than a two left thumbs lawyer trying to type and retype names, addresses, etc.:

FlexDraft solves this problem:
  • FlexDraft's "Client Information" section allows the secretary (or legal assistant) to input names and addresses for the client(s) and children, as well as names and addresses for relatives, banks and others persons who will be named in this client's estate plan–before the attorney starts the drafting process.

  • In addition, FlexDraft's "Default Lookups" feature lets you (your secretary) input frequently named cities and counties (for quick lookup and paste into client files), as well as a list of trust companies (and other persons) who will be available to all clients' estate plans.

  • Once the secretary's job is finished, the attorney (or legal assistant) does all drafting with the mouse; the attorney can draft a complete estate plan without even touching the keyboard (except to type in dollar amounts for cash gifts–although I suppose this too could be left for the secretary to complete later).
back to top  

FlexDraft Drafts the Estate Planning Documents You Need Every Day

Many products boast long laundry lists of forms you might use once a year, yet include only limited options for the document you draft every day. These products may be nice to have on the shelf but they don't help much with your day-to-day drafting needs.

FlexDraft takes the opposite approach by including almost unlimited options and flexibility for the building blocks of your estate planning practice: Wills, revocable trusts, and irrevocable trusts. The following is a summary of just some of FlexDraft's features for different documents.

back to top  
Wills:
  • Tax planning options
    • Marital lead (with credit residuary) or credit lead (with marital residuary).
    • True worth, fairly representative, or minimum worth funding valuation.
    • Optional inclusion of all IRD in marital lead gifts (to eliminate gain on funding exposure).
    • Optional spousal disclaimer to bypass trust, as either primary planning tool or to enable post death fine tuning of a formula marital gift (available for outright or in-trust marital gifts).
    • Optional inclusion of Second Generation Planning (a/k/a "GST Planning") in any Will (with or without marital deduction planning), designed to comply with the "mandatory" division requirements (without which the actual trust division must generally be made before 706 filing).
  • Marital trust options
    • QTIP or "LEPA" style marital trust (or outright marital).
    • Optional principal distributions (per ascertainable or non-ascertainable standard).
    • Optional testamentary power of appointment (to descendants, and/or surviving spouses of descendants, and/or charities).
    • Optional QDOT for any marital trust, with broad or narrow distributions and optional terminating distributions upon attaining citizenship.
  • Bypass trust options
    • For spouse only, for children [and descendants] only, or for spouse and descendants.
    • Primary beneficiary(s) may be Spouse or children [and descendants].
    • Optional inclusion of all descendants, or only descendants of a deceased child.
    • Optional special principal distributions to children [and optionally, to descendants too] for buying a home or starting a business, with (or without) advancements clause.
    • Termination on spouse's death, with "Pot" trust option (continue as single "pot" in bypass trust) until youngest child has reached a specified age.
    • Optional testamentary power of appointment in spouse automatically coordinates with termination option selected.
  • Options for trusts for children and descendants
    FlexDraft allows you to mix or match any one or more of the following:
    • "Contingent Trusts" for all beneficiaries not otherwise covered, with 1 or more vesting ages and optional power of appointment (appropriate for simple Wills).
    • "Descendants' Trusts" for all descendants not otherwise covered, lifetime or staged vesting, optional inclusion of beneficiary's spouse and/or descendants, optional special principal distributions (same as in bypass trust, see above), optional testamentary power of appointment (special, general, or "GST Split").
    • "Grandchildren's Trusts" for grandchildren only, with the same options as in Descendants' Trusts (this enables different treatment for grandchildren).
    • "Children's Trusts" for children only, with the same options as in Descendants' Trusts (this enables different treatment for children, also useful for clients whose children are very young and who are not yet ready to contemplate trusts for their children's descendants).
  • Fiduciary (Executor and Trustee) options
    • Sole fiduciaries, co-fiduciaries, or sole followed by co (executor and trustee may be different).
    • Optional authority of descendants to become sole and/or co-trustee of own trust at specified ages.
    • Optionally name one or more "Trustee Appointers" by name and/or by class, to select successor trustees.
    • Optional corporate trustee removal (by spouse, by Trustee Appointer, or by separately named Trustee Removers).
  • Administrative options
    • Short form or long form.
    • Broad or narrow fiduciary exoneration.
    • Broad or narrow investment authority.
back to top  
Revocable Trusts:

FlexDraft's revocable trusts do not have the limitations found in most drafting systems: virtually all provisions available in Wills are also available in all revocable trusts.

In addition:
  • Sole settlor revocable trusts for single or married persons, and optional joint settlor revocable trusts for married persons.
  • Additional lifetime beneficiaries can include spouse and/or children.
  • Available revocable "management" trust with "pour-back" to probate estate at death (where lifetime management is desired but an existing testamentary plan is too complex to redraft as a revocable trust).
back to top  
Irrevocable Trusts:

FlexDraft offers perhaps the most versatile irrevocable trusts of any drafting system: virtually all trusts and trust provisions available in Wills are also available in all revocable trusts.

In addition:
  • ILIT (Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust) or Gift Trust (typically funded primarily with assets other than life insurance).
  • Sole settlor irrevocable trusts for single or married persons, and optional joint settlor irrevocable trusts for married persons.
  • All irrevocable trusts may create multiple trusts ab initio ("separate share" style), which may mirror Children's Trusts or Descendant's trusts in Wills), or
  • Single trust "pot" style, which may be either dynastic or provide for termination (or division and retention in separate trusts) at: death of grantor (or surviving grantor), x years after the date of death, or date youngest child reaches a specified age (if later).
  • Withdrawal rights ("Crummey powers") may go to spouse and/or children, with either spouse or children preferred (or with all on same footing), may be Full, "5&5" or "Hanging," and may include optional advancements clause for a beneficiary who exercises a withdrawal right.
back to top  
Ancillary Documents:

All the "standard" additional estate planning documents are included:
  • Medical Power of Attorney (the statutory form, with some improvements).
  • Living Will (Directive to Physician and Family or Surrogates).
  • "HIPAA" Authorization (for disclosure of protected health information).
  • Statutory Durable Power of Attorney.
  • Pre-Need Declaration of Guardian (for self).
  • Designation of Guardian (for children–with optional provision for adult incapacitated children) (note: if you prefer, guardians for children may be designated in the Wills instead)
back to top  
Client Letters, Client Memos, & Trust "Exit" Memos:

New for 2011 and the release of the Professional Edition, FlexDraft Professional Edition includes selected client letters and memos:
  • Proposed Drafts cover letter.
  • Final Documents cover letter ("exit letter").
  • Beneficiary Designations memo (instructions for updating beneficiary designations to coordinate with the Will or revocable trust and related explanations).
  • Personal Effects memo (instructions for making a holographic codicil to a Will or a personal effects memorandum to a revocable trust).
  • "Exit memos" for irrevocable trusts providing the clients and trustees with a detailed, highly customized "owner's manual" for the proper funding & administration of irrevocable trusts:
    • Automatically conforms to the terms and options included in the relevant trust, and offers numerous additional optional provisions as well.
    • Available for both ILITs & Gift Trusts, and both sole settlor & joint settlor trusts.
    • Income, Gift, Estate & GST tax issues are all addressed.
    • Specific steps for initial and future years' gifting, including summary "time-lines" for easy client reference.
    • Other options include--
      • either "Partitioned" (separate property) or "Non-Partitioned" (community property) funding.
      • either "Opt-In" or "Opt-Out" of deemed GST Exemption allocations. 
      • Employer provided insurance.
And More:

Every day, FlexDraft gets a little bit better (because every day, the attorneys and Davis, Ridout, Jones & Gerstner, L.L.P., want a more powerful drafting system). Future versions of FlexDraft will include numerous additional documents–and so long as your license is current, all FlexDraft updates are yours for free.
back to top  
back to top  

FlexDraft's Drafting Aids Will Let You Create Your "Standard" Forms

FlexDraft includes various drafting aids designed to enhance your control over the finished product and prevent FlexDraft's incredible flexibility and power from being "too much of a good thing." The next FlexDraft update (scheduled for September, 2001) will include substantial enhancements in this area.
  • Default Lookups and Formatting Preferences. During FlexDraft Setup, you can specify lists of frequently input data (names, etc.) and indicate your preferences for various aspects of document formatting.

  • Drafting Preferences. The next scheduled update will enable detailed specification of your preferences for both administrative clauses (e.g., whether to exonerate fiduciaries, and whether to include a no contest clause) and provisions of a more dispositive nature (e.g., whether to provide for a "personal effects memorandum," and the age at which a child can become his or her own trustee). Any preference can be overridden for a particular client.

  • Basic Estate Plan Summary. A "Basic Estate Plan Summary," to be included with the next update, is a detailed list of the options available in FlexDraft documents. The BEPS will be provided in editable format (WordPerfect) so that you can customize it to suit your personal drafting style.
back to top  

FlexDraft Is for You...Regardless of Your Experience Level or Specialization
  • FlexDraft's expert system makes it ideal for general practitioners and attorneys new to estate planning, who will sharpen their skills with the interactive dialogue and built-in Resources. FlexDraft's intuitive, straight forward user interface keeps the "getting-up-to-speed" time to a minimum.

  • If you are an experienced estate planning specialist, FlexDraft's incredible flexibility and power makes it the perfect choice for you as well. Switching to FlexDraft will free up hours of forms maintenance, giving you more time for . . . whatever you want. And though you may have to forego the privilege and pride (martyrdom?) of updating and controlling your forms, and accept another attorney's drafting style, you will retain control of your drafting substance: FlexDraft's flexibility means that you should be able to continue to utilize all cutting edge planning techniques you prefer.
back to top