Compliments of the McGee Law Firm, Attorney Brandon McGee
We use words every day without much thought. Words can have different meaning in different contexts. Sometimes this “play on words” can give rise to humor. In fact, comedian George Carlin based his career on the subtleties in the usage of language. Carlin became famous for the “Seven Dirty Words” skit detailing the words that were prohibited in broadcast media. In fact, Carlin’s skit was the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court Case which clarified the boundary between free speech and obscenity. Carlin often pointed out apparent oxymorons like “jumbo shrimp” or “military intelligence.” George Carlin died recently, at age 71.
Like George Carlin, an attorney who focuses his or her practice in estate planning understands that subtleties in the language used can make a big difference. An example of the reason for the complexity of language in estate planning matters is the “Rule Against Perpetuities” which can invalidate a gift or other transfer in a Will or Trust if not done the right way. Relax, you do not need to try to figure out what “the Rule” is and how it applies. In fact, the rules involved in estate planning are so complex that a court found “. . . few, if any, areas of the law have been fraught with more confusion or concealed more traps for the unwary draftsman . . . .”
If your daughter needed her appendix removed, would you read up online to perform the procedure yourself? Would you get out your knife and wet-stone and start sharpening? Would you take her to the dentist? Well, of course not. In fact, while the possibility is laughable; the reality would be tragic.
The same holds true in estate planning. Just as your daughter is relying on you to bring her to a good surgeon to remove her appendix, your children are also counting on you to plan your estate properly. Just as your daughter’s life could be at stake in the appendectomy, your children’s livelihood and well-being could be at stake with the estate plan. A poorly drafted estate plan can wreak havoc on relationships, as well as assets. If you don’t plan your estate properly, it would be almost as obscene as George Carlin’s famous “Seven Dirty Words.”
A qualified estate planning attorney who focuses his or her practice in estate planning can ensure your wishes are carried out smoothly and effectively.
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys