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How To Minimize Family Conflict In Your Estate Plan


There is a lot to worry about when it comes to estate planning: taxes, distribution, charitable giving, documentation, etc. But, a survey conducted last year by TD Wealth shows those issues aren’t really at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The biggest issue for many, believe it or not, is family conflict. The survey found that 44% of planning professionals found the biggest threat to estate planning in 2018 was family conflict, followed by tax reform and market volatility. This is an outline of some of the most common conflicts that arise among family members during estate planning, and some helpful solutions.

Starting a Dialogue

Death is an uncomfortable subject, and it can be hard thinking about the eventuality of losing a loved one. Throw money and assets into the mix, and emotions get heightened. It’s best to start talking about the emotional aspect of estate planning early with all the right people at the table from the start. From family members to trusted lawyers and financial advisors, having an open dialogue about death as it relates to financial planning will help get everyone more comfortable with the process. Keeping people in the dark only breeds distrust, and feuding by leaving someone out of your will, will not keep them from receiving any inheritance. Open communication can get everyone on the same page with the same goals in mind.

Constantly Update Your Plan

All too often, estate holders die without having updated their plans to reflect changing tax laws or a change in family dynamics, such as birth, deaths, or marriages. This, of course, will cause a lot of conflict among family members who may have different interpretations of your last wishes. The best way to avoid this is to constantly update your wills, beneficiary designations, business succession plans, and trust documents.

Considering Your Blended Family

Blended and diverse families are more and more common in America, with more than 4.1 million children living in homes with a parent who is not their biological parent. The number of people living with unmarried partners is on the rise, as is remarriage, with 64% of previously married men taking a second walk down the aisle. The complexities of blended family relationships can cause a lot of fairness issues with estate planning, for example, who should get more based on blood relation. Fairness does not mean equal. When dividing your estate between blended families, you should also consider sentimental value along with monetary value. Again, you should have open conversations with each of your family members about what means the most to them in your estate so individual assets don’t end up in the wrong hands and cause unnecessary drama.

Legendary investor Warren Buffet may have said it best: To leave “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much they could do nothing.”

How an Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help

If you are struggling with family conflict during your estate planning, the attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP value compassion as one of our top priorities. We have spent years making sure all family members are content and at peace during the planning process. If you have any questions or concerns, or need a group of lawyers to look out for your family’s best interest, call our St. Petersburg offices at 727-471-5868. You can also contact us online to schedule a consultation today.




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