Avoid confusing or vague terminology throughout your estate plan as this can only cause more problems then intended. The process of undertaking an estate plan requires thinking intentionally about what you wish to achieve. But with unclear language, this opens the door for someone to file a probate or estate dispute.
Court intervention to resolve these disputes can be costly and problematic for your loved ones. Using phrases such as, “I hope”, “it’s my intention”, or “I wish” do not belong in your trust, will or other estate planning documents. There are some situations, however, when non-binding language could be beneficial for your estate representatives as well as your loved ones.
For example, maybe you wish to encourage your beneficiaries to hire and work with a financial advisor after receiving an inheritance.
Although you cannot require them to do this, it can be beneficial for them to understand your wishes and intentions. Furthermore, you might want to encourage someone appointed as your trustee to consider certain aspects when making decisions about most appropriate trust distributions, or you may have appointed multiple trustees that you hope will work together to make decisions collaboratively. This guidance can be included with the right terminology when you’ve partnered with a qualified estate planning attorney to help you.
Our Pasadena estate planning law office has years of experience serving California residents who need assistance with their estate plan.