Reading Your Trust (and Estate Plan)

Read your trust. Yes, I know, reading a will, trust, or almost anything written by a lawyer (except John Grisham or Scott Turow) sounds as appealing as doing your taxes, having a root canal, getting caught in a blizzard, or spending the night in an airport. And understanding “legalese” is even more daunting. Let’s face it: most lawyers don’t write well, and when they do write, they level forests, producing 50 page “briefs”and minor novellas by the hour. Lawyers speak legalese and often leave a trail of misplaced participles, dangling modifiers, and bizarre archaic phrases (e.g. “hereafter,” “heretofore,” “said party of the first part,” “such party of the second party,” “inter alia,” “res ipsa loquitor,” “stare decisis et non quieta movera,” “cy pres,” “stipulated,”  “subsequent,” “give, bequeath, and devise,” and “situate”). Most people don’t read the small print, we all just want to get it done (and leave the details to the professionals). People hire lawyers to apply their wishes and desires for the future to their family’s legal landscape: clients tell lawyers “we want X,” now figure out how to do it. And lawyers are the professionals who what you need in a will, trust, living will, powers of attorney, and who can answer your tax issues, and other vital questions.

If you’d like to work with a lawyer who speaks and writes in plain English and can help you decipher the legalese of your trust and other estate planning documents, give me a call (913-707-9220) or email me ( for a convenient free consult with my firm, Johnson Law KC LLC. We practice law differently.

(c) 2013, Stephen M. Johnson, Esq.


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