Discussion with Family Now Can Prevent Estate Pain Later

When you are planning out your estate, family should be involved in the process. Coming up with a plan for the distribution of your assets once you are gone is essential. When you do this, a discussion with your family members will make the process much easier in the long run.

Conveying Expectations

Many times, when an individual has a sizable estate, there are many family members that will ultimately want a piece of it. When you are trying to plan out how your estate will be divided, you will have to look at many different factors. You want to take care of his many family members as you can without hurting anyone's feelings. Once you come to a decision, it is important that you convey your expectations of how the assets will be divided to your family members.

If you do not let your family members know exactly what to expect, there could be problems in the future. By sitting down with your family members and conveying your expectations to them, it will be much easier for them to understand your decision. This will help them understand your reasoning and why they received the portion of the estate that they did.

Avoid Litigation

Many times, when there is a sizable estate at stake, family members will resort to fighting over it. En route to this, sometimes they will file lawsuits or fight it out in probate court. If your estate is divided in probate court, much of it will be lost to lawyers and court costs. Sometimes, you will be able to avoid all of this by simply discussing everything with all of your family members at once. If everyone understands your wishes clearly, there will be less chance of them taking the fight to court. Sometimes, the will or trust may not be completely clear because of the wording. If you clearly explain everything in advance, there will be no room for misunderstanding between family members.

Explain the Estate

There are many different ways for you to conduct your estate planning. You could potentially use a basic will, a living trust, a credit shelter trust, or a number of other devices. There are different reasons that you could choose for each type of estate planning tool. For example, if you wanted to shelter your assets from estate taxes before dispersing them to your beneficiaries, you might decide to put them into a credit shelter trust first. Your beneficiaries should understand the reasoning behind the estate planning tool that you chose. This will help avoid confusion for you and them down the road.

Explaining to your beneficiaries what type of instrument you used is important so that they know a plan exists. Sometimes people will write out a will themselves and leave it in a drawer in the house. The family might not discover this will until after the estate has been divided in probate court. By explaining what you want in advance, all of the family members will be aware of your plan and put it into place once you die.

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