Five Fatal Flaws

The following foul ups are so common in my estate planning and probate practice that hardly a week goes by without seeing them.

1. NO DOCUMENTATION

It may be that the documents were drafted and executed properly but now can’t be found. It may be that the documents were never completed or even started. The results are the same either way.

2. NOT PROPERLY WITNESSED OR NOTARIZED

People have lots of good ideas about how to properly execute and memorialize documents. These ideas are usually well meaning and usually miss the mark. Close counts in hand grenades and horseshoes, not in estate planning.

3. BAD LANGUAGE

The problem is not that people curse or defame in their handcrafted documents, although I have seen both, it is that the language doesn’t accomplish their goals.
Twain pointed out that the linguistic differences between lightening and lightening bug are minute in comparison to the difference in their meaning.

4. BAD IDEAS

Naming Co-Executors or leaving a few dollars to everyone you know seem like good ideas. They’re not. As anyone with experience in anything knows, the more familiar you are with your area of expertise, the fewer bad ideas you put into practice. Part of the reason you hire an expert is to avoid the costly errors that other people have made.

5. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THROUGH

It may be that you planned to prepare the right documents and never got around to it. It may be that the correct planning was accomplished, but the fiduciaries named were unable or unwilling to complete the plan. The statute of limitations to probate a will in Texas is four years from the date of the Testator’s death. While there are ways to have the will admitted to probate in a restricted form after the four year deadline, having an experienced probate lawyer review the Decedent’s estate planning documents and counsel you on how to proceed is essential.

If you would like help in avoiding these and countless other pitfalls in planning for your future, contact Mr. Bailey.www.thetexasbusinessattorney.com/

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