You MUST Understand What You are Signing

In this post yesterday, Leanna Hamill of The Massachusetts Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog posted about something that is fundamental to my practice… I won’t let clients sign something until they understand what they’re signing. This can make document executions take longer, especially for the more complex plans (e.g. generation skipping, special needs, etc.), but its worth every second.

Leanna writes:

Signing your estate plan can be overwhelming. There may be 10 or more documents signed at one time, and some of the documents can be quiet lengthy. However, your attorney should have explained in detail (and in plain English) what each documents does, when it takes effect, when it is revoked, what power you are giving to the people named in the document and when it should be revised.

If your attorney is explaining something and you don’t understand, tell her. Ask her to phrase it a different way, ask for an example. Ask until you understand. I always check in with my clients to make sure I have not lost them, because while I understand what I’m talking about – it’s very important that they understand, too!

And I can’t agree more.

Clients appreciate the work more when they understand the thought that went into it; when they see they didn’t just receive another commodity, they got the trained advice of an expert in a complicated area of law and an incredibly important area of their lives.

To the client:
You MUST understand what you’re signing!

To the attorney:
Your clients MUST understanding what they’re signing!

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