Legalese and Its Role in Your Will

G+G Legalese


You decide that you should have a will written to protect yourself and your assets upon your death. You decide what you want this important document to say and get lawyer to draft it. But when the Will is sent to you for your review, you are surprised to find that it is written in “legalese”—a language that can be confusing for the lay person.

Your concern is that someone reading your Will won’t understand its meaning. But there are good reasons for why these important documents are drafted by lawyers in this manner. Remember, if a Will is challenged or called into question after the death of its owner, it is the courts that will be making decisions on its interpretation and application. The courts are uniquely qualified to interpret legal documents and Wills written in standard and accepted legal language provide less room for misinterpretation by judges and lawyers alike. For instance, the average person may think that a statement containing the phrase “it is my wish that my brother be allowed to remain living in my home after my death” is an iron-clad indication of the deceased’s desires. However, courts have interpreted the phrase “it is my wish. . .” to be an expression of the deceased’s suggestion as to how an executor may use the estate’s resources, and not a binding requirement.

Careful drafting of Wills using language that has been tested in courts and has the interpretation that a testator desires will help to insure that your final requests are carried out the way you intended. Further, you can be assured that your lawyer will review the document with you prior to you signing it so that you understand each section and its interpretation.


Feel free to contact us at any point for assistance or advice with respect to Estate Law, Estate Planning or Estate Administration or Estate Litigation. We may be reached at 705-435-4339 / 1-877-85LEGAL (1-877-855-3425) or contact us via email.

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