If you’ve recently met with a lawyer to draft a will, you may be surprised by how long it is. Your thought that the will would be simple because your situation is uncomplicated was wrong. When you get done at the lawyer’s office, you’re walking out with a big binder full of papers that lay out what happens to your estate upon either your incapacitation or death.
Why is that?
There are so many elements to consider when producing a plan for the future. A lawyer who develops an estate plan will use an array of documents, pages and provisions to ensure everything is on the “up and up.” Think of it as you hiring an electrician for your house. The electrician brings a huge tool kit because they don’t know the exact tool that will fix the job. The lawyer is your electrician, and that massive pile of papers is the tools needed to ensure the job is done right.
These documents are designed to do four things:
- Acknowledge what your desires are
- Be court-enforced
- Address the unpredicted situation or needs that arise
- Communicate a collective meaning to those reading
These needs are important, which is why the trust documents will be so long. If you’re developing an estate plan, there are some things to bear in mind.
Acknowledge Your Desires
A primary reason the trust documents are so long is that it lays out all your wishes carefully. The documents do it for you if you cannot make any financial decisions for yourself or what happens to property and money. The legal document is your chance to tell people what you want to have happened to your belongings and money upon your incapacitation or death.
Without it, you may not get what it is you desire.
Trust documents are lengthy because it avoids one court process – probate. Probate can take a long time to go through and is costly. With trust documents drafted up, it details what rights people have and their obligations and responsibilities without court involvement. An attorney will ensure that all possible scenarios are covered that could occur. The documents are not used in probate, but they can legally communicate to various entities what is going to happen upon incapacitation or death.
Addresses The Unpredicted
Since it’s a comprehensive document, the trust looks to cover the predicted and unpredicted aspects of property and money distribution. This is one of the things we do – we try to get you to see what could happen. Trust instructions are designed to cover anything and everything.
For instance, some trust sections are set up to cover an incapacitation scenario, allowing you to name a person who can make decisions for you. You can also name a person to handle estate affairs when you die. However, it can also lay out another person to help with these matters (another trustee).
It’s just one of many instances that can happen that a well-thought-out trust plan covers when the unexpected occurs.
Communicate A Collective Meaning To Reviewers
It’s important that everybody reading and reviewing the documents understands what it is you’re trying to convey. You don’t want anyone to think one way, and it is not what you meant. Everybody should agree on what your trust means and abide by it. Lawyers can craft these documents to provide instructions clearly, so there is no confusion.
What We Can Do For You
When looking over your estate, you may feel it’s not comprehensive enough to convey all your wishes and desires. If this is the case, give our law office a call to set up a time for us to review your document or create a new one to ensure that your estate plan is clearly defined and laid out to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.