Thursday, June 23, 2011

Signing Estate Planning Documents

It was late on a Wednesday afternoon. My client, her daughter, son-in-law, two bank employees serving as witnesses, and myself all gathered around a desk. Pen in hand, the 90 year old women who had hired me to update her estate plan applied ink to paper. The room was quite except for the swish of flipping pages. As she signed the last line she sat back, and said with a chuckle, "I feel like I'm going off to jail". The room erupted into laughter -- no one had offered that comment before. But it certainly captured the importance of the signing meeting.

I never let my clients sign their papers without me. Most people are concerned with the wording in documents, which is of course important. But most don't give a second thought to whether the papers are signed properly. And from what I've read, most documents fail not because of poor wording, but because they were not signed properly.

So, if you are are doing your own estate planning documents, make sure that the signing complies with the laws or your state.

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