I usually transcribe documents or manuscripts in full so that I do not miss important details. However, often these documents ramble on for pages and pages of legal jargon, so it is useful to produce a summary or abstract of the document for sharing and for future quick reference. I am thinking primarily of wills where there is a tendency to include a lot of superfluous or repetitive information.
What are the best practices for producing document abstracts? Are there published or widely-accepted guidelines for this? In particular, I have struggled to know how to best handle the following points:
What tense to use in the abstract? These documents are usually written in the first person ("I bequeath to John my son..."), and should that tense be maintained in the abstract, or is it acceptable/preferable to transpose it into third person ("He bequeaths to his son John...")?
Should original spellings and abbreviations be maintained? In a transcription, one should attempt to reproduce the text verbatim, but in an abstract is it acceptable to expand abbreviations or correct obvious spelling mistakes of names or places? For example, writing "William" instead of "Wm" in the abstract, or correcting "Darbyshire" to "Derbyshire".
Can I change the order of information in my abstract? For instance, in a will the testator makes bequests to son John, then wife Ann, then sister Jane, then daughter Mary, then son William; in the abstract I might start with wife Ann, then sons John and William, daughter Mary, and lastly sister Jane. Or is a goal of the abstract simply to go through the document noting the key points, but omitting superfluous information, in which case the order should not be changed?
In addition I would welcome any other insights into producing quality and consistent document abstracts. I realise I've mentioned a lot of closely related questions here but I'm not expecting anyone to address all of them in an answer.