Anyone who has recently had the experience of completing or updating a Will (at least in Canada) has likely discovered, as I have, that the legalese terminology has been transformed into a little less technical linguistics, but replaced with a larger volume of phraseology covering subject matter which used to be implied, rather than overtly stated.
An impact of this focus on enhanced detail is to expand the length of the Will document, not a source of preference I suspect for many of us.
For example, references to the impact of grandchildren or step-families, frequently not germane to the situation at the time of making the Will, are apparently deemed worthy of inclusion. This, as it was explained to me, is part of the legal profession’s attempt to anticipate contingencies. It presumably gets the lawyer off the hook if complications occur for which the lawyer theoretically could be alleged as at fault – notwithstanding they are highly unlikely, or able to be addressed in a subsequent Will revision or codicil, or in any event, would be subject to interpretation anyway, with the ‘client’ family most motivated to resolve the issue. The definitive expression, “Be brief, and be gone”, is substituted with “Be long, before gone”.
This state of affairs makes one wonder how far things might go in legal profession attempts to anticipate what might impact estate planning documents:
- Politically correct, language neutrality infiltrations, about the use of pronouns may elicit a greater use of obfuscating why’s, wherefore’s, and one’s
- More courses will be given on creating dome-like sentences which pro-actively introduce scenarios not asked for by clients
- There may be references to walkways to cover the off-expressed possibility wherein if someone steps on a crack, it hurts their mother’s back
- Weather forecasters may need fallback coverage to address their highly dependable percentage of forecasting errors
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