Article_Execution of Documentation

We review signed estate planning documents on a daily basis and regularly receive documents that have execution and other issues. We have set out below the most common reasons for documents being rejected due to a failure to comply with strict legal requirements:

  • Attaching anything to an original document, including by way of paper clip, bulldog clip or post-it note. Please ensure you do not attach anything to a will – including ‘with compliments’ slips or correspondence.
  • Attorneys signing the attorney documents before the principal has signed – an attorney cannot accept their appointment before the principal has appointed them.
  • Leaving documents undated – unlike many other formal documents where clients are specifically told not to date the document (for example, tax returns), all estate planning documentation must be dated on the day that it is signed.
  • Failing to sign (and date) in each and every place required.
  • Having relatives, beneficiaries or people appointed in roles of authority (such as an executor or attorney) witness documents, most of whom are prohibited from being a witness.
  • Having unqualified persons witness attorney documents when specific qualifications are required.

If any of the above issues arise, it virtually guarantees that the relevant document must be either returned for correcting, reproduced or re-signed in order to avoid substantial and unnecessary difficulties when the document needs to be relied upon.

Take care to carefully follow these points when executing your documents because if new documents need to be sent to you, not only can additional fees be incurred, but there is also unnecessary risks created if something was to happen in the intervening period.

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