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How to avoid family conflicts regarding estate planning

Estate planning builds a legal roadmap for disseminating wealth after someone dies. Responsible individuals take action in this department as soon as possible. That way, one can have faith that confusion will not reign after they pass.

The nature of the topic means potential inheritors are prone to hurt feelings. Everything is likely to go smoother if one observes a few choice recommendations.

Recommendation #1: Create a living trust

Reduce the odds of arguments between relatives by creating this vital document. Living trusts assign someone to handle critical matters after the estate holder passes. Having a trustee in place helps avoid a power struggle that might lead to an expensive court battle.

Recommendation #2: Appoint a financial point-person

Besides having a trustee, someone needs to receive financial power of attorney. This appointee executes all manner of property-related tasks. Responsibilities include paying bills, collecting insurance benefits and making bank deposits. With someone in place early on, one may personally communicate important information. This is preferable to hoping that documentation will accurately explain everything.

Recommendation #3: Discuss estate-planning choices

Family members suffer less distress when they know what to expect from an estate plan. Divulging choices in a group setting means everyone has the same information. It also allows for questions and answers, which letters and emails do not. When people are far apart, a Zoom meeting becomes a convenient option.

Savvy estate planning sidesteps much of the heartache that could otherwise result. A bit of foreknowledge is helpful when putting final wishes into writing.