Why An Estate Plan Needs To Be Solid

Law Blog

An estate plan tells others what to do in the event that you pass or are otherwise incapacitated. Estate planning lawyers strongly encourage their clients to make the documents governing their plans as tight as possible. Here is why a solid estate plan is so important.


Foremost, estate law favors clarity. If you want a particular one of your children to receive a particular asset, the best solution is to clearly identify it in the estate planning documents.

Estate planning attorneys will want to be as unambiguous as possible. If they can identify an asset down to the serial number, they will do so. When dealing with properties, they'll identify specific lots and may even include GPS coordinates. You want to be sure that no one can raise any questions about your intentions if you're not going to be there to explain things.

Clarity serves two key purposes in estate law. It defuses potential disputes over the intent of certain terms. Likewise, it makes life easier for a probate judge presiding over the estate.


It is also wise to be as thorough as possible. Remember, estate law covers a lot more than just what happens to your stuff if you pass. For example, an estate's documents should address scenarios where the grantor is severely ill, mentally or physically incapacitated, kidnapped, or lost.

Suppose you have a controlling stake in a business. Worse, suppose something happens and a doctor needs to keep you in a medically induced coma for several weeks so you can recover. What happens to the business while you're in that condition? A will should state who gets temporary control. Likewise, it should state what the conditions are for you to then reassert your authority once the situation passes.


Ideally, an estate should also settle outstanding debts and taxes. One of the biggest threats to an estate is the possibility that creditors will pick it apart. By properly funding an estate, you can reduce the risk that creditors or tax agencies will have claims against it. In extreme cases, these parties could drive the estate into bankruptcy to recover what they're owed.


Finally, it's best for a specific person to administer the estate. An executor can handle the day-to-day issues of the estate. If someone needs to track down beneficiaries, for example, the estate plans should provide sufficient identification and contact information to give the executor a good start.


8 February 2023

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