“There are attorneys who will do a will or a trust for someone even though they do divorces or real estate or medical malpractice 98% of the time,” says Altman. “They figure they can get a form someplace.”
Altman faults both lawyer inexperience and faulty language for the catastrophic mistakes that (all too often) occur. He cites one probate case where the father and mother died in an accident and the language in the will (done by a general practice attorney) allowed for hundreds of thousands of dollars to be paid out to a minor.
“When I asked the attorney who drafted the documents ‘Why did you do this?’ his response was, ‘I didn’t think [the parents] would die young.’ That indicates to me that there was no thought given to what was being done because he wasn’t anticipating anything.”
Using a general practice attorney or Do-It-Yourself estate planning software is a sure-fire way to making irrevocable mistakes. See Altman’s related article, “The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Wills and Trusts.”
To read Gary’s full comments in Financial Advisor, click here.