Beware of boilerplate terms in marital agreements and pre-nups!

For attorneys, nothing is sweeter than having a ready-made contract to use as a guide. Who wants to have to reinvent the wheel each time a client walks in with uncannily similar issues to the client right before? An attorney has limited time and to the extent an attorney can save time by using boilerplate documents, he or she should go right ahead and work as efficiently as possible and save time. Time is money, after all. Especially for lawyers.
The problem of course is that no two clients are ever exactly alike. And when an attorney uses boilerplate contracts or documents it is very easy to lose sight of this fact and make dangerous and costly mistakes. And it is always the little things that create big problems down the road like names, dates, zeros, addresses, signatures and things like that. It is always the little things. Case in point, you use the same boilerplate document to generate your summons and complaint for all your clients. It has been working fine for years. But one day you were a little distracted and you forgot to change the name of the defendant on the summons. You then purport to have that defective thing served on your client’s spouse. Invariably the spouse goes out and hires your worse nemesis as his or her attorney and instead of calling you just to tell you that you screwed up, the schmuck goes ahead and makes an obnoxious motion that invariably is heard before the one judge that thinks you are a total and complete moron and imbecile.
 
Or worse, you leave off a couple of zeros that your client should get in a settlement. Or you don’t add a crucial clause that is not in the boilerplate but is relevant to the particular client. Or you fail to strike out a clause in the boiler contract that does not and should not pertain to your client. But which left in raises serious issues and consequences for your client.
Prenups are particularly dangerous because you forget about those till years later, like 15 years or so, when it comes back to haunt you when the client is getting divorced and blames you for drafting a bad agreement or allowing her to sign an agreement with boilerplate clauses that do not reflect her wishes and are not in her best interest.
Both attorneys and clients have  a duty to carefully scrutinize boilerplate prenuptial agreements and marital agreements and make sure they are sufficiently personalized and adapted to each client. Or face potentially dire consequences.