Every advisor knows to ask a potential client whether he or she has a will, a living trust or an insurance trust, and knows that beneficiary designations control the disposition of the lion's share of many estates.

But if an advisor wants a thorough picture of a prospective client's estate plan, the line of inquiry has to be broader. All matrimonial agreements belong on a target list. An investigation often has to expand into unexpected legal corners. In certain situations, a lease might prove to be the most important legal document in a family's estate planning repertoire. Confining analysis to obvious estate planning documents such as wills could miss some important issues - as well as some lucrative planning opportunities.

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