For both wills and trusts I use 'plain English' as much as possible.
Edit, edit, edit
I work hard to leave out words and phrases that are unnecessary. (Or duplicative, outdated, useless, verbose, and antiquated!)
It takes time to edit until the wording is clearer. It is important to me. (But it is still a legal environment, so I like to call it 'plainER', and maybe not entirely 'plain.' )
I've eliminated the words heretofore and herewith from the trusts and wills I write. These words get in the way when we read. Studies show that these types of words reduce the readability of legal documents.
Just a few of the many examples of using plain English to write legal documents:
The New York Times column "Plain English is the Best Policy" offers more information as to why ‘Plain English’ is the preferred approach to law. Or should be.
Why use it? Tough to read, tough to understand
Reading legalese can be difficult. When reading a document is difficult, it’s more likely that you won't fully read it. If you don't fully read it then you won't have a good understanding of what the document legally does.
A document in plain English helps you better understand your legal position.
Documents AND correspondence deserve clarity
Every day, when I write, I work hard to edit, and then edit again, to achieve a more direct and simple result. Not just for documents but for everyday letters to clients and others alike!
Active wording rather than passive wording
Active wording is more concise than passive wording. To write better legal documents, I use active wording (where a person performs an action) to replace more traditional legal phrases using passive wording (where something happens to a person).
Rules for writing in plain English
Here are some guidelines we follow when writing plain English: