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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

Clarity is the Key to a Good Estate Plan

POSTED ON: November 4, 2019

Simply having an estate plan doesn’t mean that there won’t be any family disputes over your estate. If a trust or will isn’t written with specific terminology and clarity, you could still be leaving your loved ones in a situation where there will be disagreements over what your true intention was for distribution or control of your assets.

The best way to explain this is to provide a couple of examples. When actress Audrey Hepburn died in 1993, her handwritten will appointed her two sons, Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti, as co-equal heirs to the majority of her notable possessions and her intellectual property. So, the will indicated a 50/50 split, but did that mean a split equal in number of items or equal in value? Her sons argued with each other over the meaning of her intention.

Comedian Robin William’s passed away in 2014, leaving wording in his trust saying that his adult children from a previous marriage would get all of his “clothing, jewelry, personal photos taken prior to his marriage…memorabilia and awards in the entertainment industry, and the tangible personal property located in Napa.” A dispute ensued between his widow and his adult children because the trust’s wording didn’t clearly designate which house the property could be taken from. It was also unclear if the phrase “located in Napa” was only in reference to “tangible personal property.”

Your estate plan needs to be specific and clear. The right terminology must be used so that your intention is not open to interpretation. We have the expertise to help you through every step of the estate planning process and provide you with documents that will ensure that your wishes are carried out. Contact us at 617.299.6976 or mkarr@maheritagelawcenter.com, and we’ll make a free, no-obligation initial consultation appointment for you.