Resources

ESTATE PLANNING BASICS

  • Wills. With a basic Will, which may include a Testamentary Trust, you can express your wishes regarding the disposition of your property, as well as identify a desired Guardian for children

  • Powers of Attorney.

    • Health Care POA. With a Health Care Power of Attorney, you can give someone you trust (a family member or close friend) the ability to speak on your behalf regarding your medical care
    • Durable POA. With a Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney, you can give someone you trust the ability to act on your behalf regarding your finances (access bank accounts, pay bills, etc.)

  • Living Wills. Living Wills are documents that allow you to specify what kinds of treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as your preferences for other medical decisions, such as pain management or organ donation

  • Probate Avoidance Techniques.  Probating a will can be timely, and at times, costly.  There are a number of probate avoidance techniques that are easy to employ (joint tenancy, rights of survivorship, payable on death designations, transfer on death designations)

CONTRACTING BASICS

While contracts are often complicated, they’re generally constructed using only a handful of basic “building blocks.”  Just about every sentence that isn’t part of the preamble or recitals is one of the following: 

  • A covenant
  • A condition
  • A right
  • A representation or warranty
  • A rule of construction

Covenant:  A covenant is just a promise or obligation. 

  • Keywords: “Shall”, “will” (sometimes), “agree(s)”, “promise(s)”, etc.
  • Example: “Buyer shall exclusively receive the Purchased Services from Seller.”

Condition:  A condition is something that triggers a right or covenant.

  • Keywords: “If . . . then”, “provided, however. . .”, “on condition that . . .”, etc.
  • Example: “If Seller is not able to produce documentary evidence of title on or before September 30, Buyer will be permitted to terminate the Agreement without penalty.”   

Right:  A right is something a party is entitled to receive or has the ability to exercise. 

  • Keywords: “Has”, “have”, “has/have the right”, “may elect”, “at our discretion”, “choose”, etc.
  • Example: “We have the right to collect payment from you before providing any services.”      

Representations and Warranties:  A representation is a statement of fact that induces a party to enter into a contract (it measures something at a single point in time).  A warranty is a stipulation that a certain fact is or will be as stated or promised (it measures something over time). 

  • Keywords: “Represent(s)” and “warrant(s)”
  • Example: “You represent and warrant that you have the authority to enter into this Agreement and to perform your obligations under this Agreement.” 

Rules of Construction:  Rules of construction are contract terms that aid with interpretation. 

  • Keywords: Unlimited possibilities
  • Example:  “This contract is governed under Ohio law.”