Even an esteemed lawyer like a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court should seek out an estate planning lawyer.  We don’t always know “what we don’t know.”

While clarity and brevity are to be admired and encouraged, especially when legal writing is involved, not all words and phrases are superfluous.

The former Chief Justice, Warren Burger, neglected to include the “power to sell [real estate], pay taxes and otherwise manage the estate,” in his 176 word Will.  Additionally, the Chief Justice could have used one more round of “spell check,” for certain terms in his Will.

Is the omission of these “powers” fatal, nope.  What is does mean is extra probate related court costs and delays in being able to administer the estate for the beneficiaries.  Additionally, the Chief Justice did not observe the optimal signing procedures, so his witnesses may need to be found and attest, in court, to the circumstances of the signing, more time and money spent.

Seeking out an experienced estate planning attorney may seem like an unnecessary “expense” in this day of DIY online tools, but in the long run it may save your administrators, estate, and beneficiaries time and money.


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