“The execution is usually where there are mistakes. The plan or will may need witnesses or a notary to sign it,” she says. “In one case, the benefactor wanted to give property and the zip code in the papers was wrong, which invalidated the transaction. You need three layers of review for any document or you risk overlooking a detail.”

Every advisor should know estate planning attorneys to help with the execution. “Your clients cannot just cross their fingers and hope it all works out,” Guimond-Quigley adds. “Your clients don’t want to leave a mess for their heirs to clean up.”

“And always remember, money makes people act crazy,” says Forster, “so you want to have everything properly in place for your clients.”


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