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    Service Desk

    This is a great chance to step back and think about overall organization of a set of forms, so I'm going to answer at length.  I'm outlining my own favorite approach here.  Let me know how you might tailor it for your own use, or if you can think of other approaches that might work better.  When our conversation is done, I'll take the results and create one of our "Word Warrior 101" guides on this topic.

    A.  FOR THE FORM CREATOR

    1.  One Big Q&A Table.  First create a form called an "Estate Planning Intake Form".  It should contain a great big Q&A table that asks for all of the information that's used in any of the EP forms you will create.  And the Q&A table is all it contains -- you can even get rid of the blank page that precedes the Q&A table.  (Casey, your plan to ask for all of the people in the first question and then draw from that list to present choices for other questions is a good one.)  Before closing the intake form, click Table to save its Q&A table in your library of Q&A tables, naming it "Estate Planning".  Now that you've created a library of Q&A tables, you will have the opportunity to select a previously saved Q&A table every time you create a new form.

    2.  Creating Each Form.  Open a document that you'll turn into a form -- a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, etc.  Click Table and select the Estate Planning Q&A table that you saved in Step A.1, so the great big EP Q&A table is inserted into the Will form.  Finish creating the Will form, adding fields, conditions, and lists that make use of the labeled questions that were already determined in Step A.1.  When the form is complete, click Check Form.  The form checking routine identifies and offers to remove the "extra" questions in the Q&A table -- ones that are not used in this particular form.  You'll end up with a much shorter Q&A table that's tailored specifically to this form.  Repeat this Step A.2 for each of the other EP forms you want to create.

    B.  FOR THE FORM USER

    You can use either of two approaches:

    1.  Answer all questions before creating any finished documents.

    a.  Open the Estate Planning Intake Form that was created in Step A.1.  Answer all of the questions, then click Save/Load to save the answers for this matter.

    b.  To create a finished document, open one of the Estate Planning forms that was created in Step A.2.  Click Save/Load and load the answers for this matter that were saved in Step B.1.a.  Click Fill and you're done.

     -- or --

    2.  Accumulate answers over time as you create finished documents.

    a.  To create your first finished document in a particular matter, open one of the Estate Planning forms that was created in Step A.2.  Answer the questions (note that this is a subset that only includes questions applying to this particular form) and click Fill to finish the document.  Before closing the document, click Save/Load to save this subset of answers in an answer file for this matter.

    b.  For each additional finished document you create in the same matter, open the form then click Save/Load to load any relevant answers that were saved in Step B.2.a.  Fill in any remaining empty answers then click Fill to finish the document.  Before closing the document, click Save/Load to save any new information to the answer file for this matter.  Over time, you will accumulate more and more information in the answer file, so less typing will be required with each new document you create in this matter.

    The central idea of this approach is that each individual form contains only a subset of questions in its Q&A table, supplying only the answers that are used in that particular form.  But the intake form includes all potential questions, serving two important purposes:  (1) give the form user a way to input all of their answers at once, if they so choose; and (2) effortlessly maintain consistency of field names (labels) across all of your estate planning forms, so that the answers saved from one form can be seamlessly loaded into any other EP form.

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    Viki Christensen

    This is exactly what I was looking for!  Thank you for the Q&A,so I didn't have to recreate the wheel!

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