Ann Arbor, MI asked in Estate Planning for Michigan

Q: How do I correct a misspelled name in my Will, Power of Attorney and Health Advocacy paperwork?

Last name of my second sole personal representative (my niece) is misspelled. Can it be corrected or do I need all new documents?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: You can replace all of those documents with new, corrected ones, of course, and that is the BEST solution. If that is not practical, then consider a same name affidavit to connect the dots between the misspelled name and the correctly spelled name.

Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Howell, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: If the misspelling is obvious / innocuous (smyth vs smith for example) there will likely be no big issue and an affidavit is fine. A simple codicil will also work well. The BEST solution is to redo the document particularly if there is the possibility of any misinterpretation. (You have nieces named Jayne Smith, Jean Smyth and Jane Smith for example. In which case, the document should be more specific anyway!)

You should also READ the document with the attorney before signing to make sure this stuff gets caught. MOST attorneys will fix typos at no or very minimal charge if caught quickly though. Ask!

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