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Often, clients come to us with documents that another attorney drafted, or even documents they wrote themselves. Some clients have pointed out that their names are misspelled in the documents. For example, if a client’s name is Anne, it may have been spelled Ann in a power of attorney.

Thankfully, this type of error does not invalidate estate planning documents such as powers of attorney. It is what is sometimes called a “scrivener’s error.” The person preparing the document made a minor mistake, but that does not change the original intent to name a particular person as an agent under the durable power of attorney.

However, just because these errors will not invalidate a document does not mean it shouldn’t be corrected if possible. As a practical matter, it often makes sense to update and correct the durable power of attorney or other documents to avoid all possibility of difficulty in the future. Additionally, if small errors in spelling are made in a document, it is highly likely that other errors were made that might not be as easily spotted by the untrained eye. It is always a good idea to have an experienced estate planning attorney review your documents on a regular basis.

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