While I cannot say whether there are mistakes in your estate planning documents, the wording of your document may be confusing to you as a non-attorney.

Legal documents contain a great deal of legalese.  For purposes of this response, I am assuming that you are leaving all of your assets to your children.  First, it is important to define the assets that are passing to your children.  This is usually done by defining your residuary estate.  Keeping it simple, your residuary estate is generally all of your property, whether real or personal property.

If you were to leave your residuary estate to your children, you might see the following language, “I leave my residuary estate to my issue, per stirpes.”  The word “issue” means your children.  The words “per stirpes” means that if any of your children predecease you, their share will pass to their children.  Thus, the individual names of your children would not be listed.

The above is only one example of language that you could use in your residuary estate to effectively convey your assets to your children.  There are others.  I have had the opportunity to review many residuary clauses and unfortunately, many residuary clauses are defective in that the verbiage simply does not work.  This could be fatal to your estate plan.  If your residuary clause is ineffective, your assets may pass to unintended beneficiaries or in a manner inconsistent with your estate plan.

If your estate planning documents were not prepared by an elder law or estate planning attorney, I strongly recommend you contact us to review your documents.

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