Friday, August 23, 2013

The Word "Issue" In a Will

Lawyers perform many tasks throughout the course of a workday, and the role of translator happens quite often.  By translator I mean taking legalese and converting it into plain English.  Of the legal terms I translate on a weekly basis is the word "issue".

Within the context of estate planning and probate (wills, powers of attorney, trusts) the word issue means a person's children and or offspring.  Here's an example:  Mary Lou is 92 and has a daughter, Sharon who is 70.  Sharon has a daughter Melinda age 40.  Finally, Melinda has a daughter Maeve, who is 3.  Mary Lou's issue are: Sharon, Melinda and Maeve.  Note, issue is not just children, but all offspring by birth or adoption, step-relations are not included.

Recently I explained this term to a client as we reviewed the couple's estate plan.  It was a blended family; he had children from a previous marriage, she had no children.  Wondering why his will referred to "issue" I explained the concept.  Issue referred to his children and any future grandchildren.  To which she laughed and said "well, I may have issues, but I don't have issue!"  I laughed too, and knew she had mastered the concept.

The author, Melinda, along with Mary Lou, Sharon, and Maeve.  Taken in 2011, it's four generations of women from the Lamb Family

Thanks for reading, and note that a blog post is not a substitute for an attorney nor should it be taken for legal advice.

1 comment:

Ann Casey said...

Thanks for the post. My mom is revising her will and I just explained "issue" to her over the phone on Sunday afternoon!