Interviewer:  …Whitney, how long should your estate planning documents be?

Whitney:  A lot of people that come into our office already have estate planning documents drafted and they want us to review them. One of the first things we look at is how long your estate planning documents are.

I can tell you now, if your trust is 15, 20 pages long, it’s not robust enough to answer all of the questions that a trust should answer. Same thing with some of your other documents. Your financial power of attorney, if it’s 5 to 10 pages long, it probably doesn’t have all of the legal language that needs to be there for financial institutions to accept those documents.

Our documents are closer to 25 pages long, a quick way to see if your documents are sufficient is to look at the length of your documents. If they aren’t of significant length, they’re probably not sufficient and will probably cause your family to go to court to make those documents work.