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Why Estate Planning is a Difficult Conversation Families Must Have

by Kim GreeneApril 28, 2021
Why Estate Planning is a Difficult Conversation Families Must Have

Family feuds over inheritance are common when there is no legal document to help determine how the deceased party intended for his estate to be distributed upon his or her death. A will or testament is a legal declaration to help clarify this intent. A will is a much less expensive option than setting up a trust. 

The declaration in the will document should name the person to manage the estate and also provide for how assets should be distributed upon death.

Throughout my career as an estate lawyer, says David Reischer, CEO of LegalAdvice.com,  I have noticed the propensity of people not to properly plan for their estate due to laziness, cheapness or a lack of desire to contemplate their own death. 

Many people erroneously believe that they do need a will because they do not have a lot of assets. I understand that some people do not have a lot of assets but important matters like deciding who should care for your children in the event of an untimely death need careful consideration even if an estate does not have a lot of assets.

Many people are also under a misconception that drafting a will or setting up a trust is expensive. While it is true that setting up a complicated trust could be expensive, most estates are not that complicated and the average cost of planning for an estate after death will save the estate so much money in the long run, that hiring an attorney for a couple of thousand dollars is actually very good value. 

Finally, I think the main other reason that people do not draft a will is simply because people do not like to contemplate their own mortality.

But at the end of the day, you will likely thank yourselves later if you decide to have the estate planning conversation as early as now. We’ve gathered insight from other individuals to highlight just how important this is:

Yurii Brown, Health Enthusiast and Founder of CoffeeGeekLab:

If families were open to discussing estate planning in a level-headed manner, each member would get the protection they deserve from ugly court battles and tax burdens. One of the things a parent cannot control in the event of early death is raising young children. 

Therefore, estate planning presents the opportunity to protect your children by assigning guardians that you fully trust instead of letting the court decide on your children's future. 

Moreover, you can set up a trust or control who has access to free cash. In short, estate planning allows you to take care of your loved ones by leaving a will that secures their future.

Stephen Jacob, Editor at BestForAndroid:

Estate planning is a sensitive issue because families do not look forward to enjoying someone's assets when they're gone. Nevertheless, settling one's affairs early on who gets what, will give the asset owner the confidence that their loved ones will be spared from huge tax burdens and other liabilities. 

Also, careful estate planning will assure you that your legacy will be kept according to your will. Your decision on the distribution of your assets as a breadwinner in the family is critical. It has a huge impact especially on young children. 

Overall, if you don't want the court to step into your affairs and worry that your loved ones will not get the share of your assets accurately when you’re gone, protect them with

a will.

Adam Mitchell, Home Buying Guys:

With the experience of 15 years in the field of real estate, it saddens me to think that people tend to elaborately plan things like vacations, buying their first car, researching about kid’s school, and even go on a casual date, but they never even think about estate planning. 

It is like an alien concept that never crossed their minds. The reality is that estate planning is an easy solution to so many future legal battles and ugly fights that generally takes place when someone passes without planning their estate. If you have chosen the person who will inherit your property after your passing, then estate planning is essential.

Some common reasons why this is necessary are mentioned below. First of all, it helps to protect the beneficiary and they don’t have to fight regarding the inheritance. Estate planning is also beneficial in shielding your small kids from unnecessary legal problems. And because everyone loves saving money, estate planning also prevents you from paying big taxes.

Robert Johnson, Founder of Sawinery:

It's usually difficult to talk about estate planning in front of the whole family since it's inevitable not to offend anyone. There are family members who won't appreciate this topic being brought up, especially the adults. One time, my uncle brought the estate planning topic over lunch, and he was dismissed by the older people, saying such should not be talked about because they are still alive and the topic of who gets what isn't ideal.

Thus the main reason why estate planning should be talked about and is a topic that needs to be raised in family gatherings, is practicality. Not only are there laws in the present that raise tax exemptions which will be beneficial to both ends, thus it also lessens the trouble that comes along with transferring papers should the inevitable event arrive.

It is a lot more difficult to process papers such as transferring of ownership and the like after dealing with a tragic event such as loss or sudden incapacitation of a loved one. Apart from emotional stress, the physical and mental stress that comes along with filling up papers, and completing tasks is just too much for anyone. 

Thus we do not want anyone from the family to suffer this kind of stress right after an emotional trauma.

In Conclusion

No matter how difficult having this conversation is now, it pales in comparison to what’s to come if you forgo it altogether. Estate planning is the best thing you can do to prepare for your future, as well as those of your family members. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

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