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Family challenges in creating an estate plan

Blended families, sibling rivalry and irresponsible heirs are a few of the challenges that can make estate planning difficult for some people in Florida. Many financial professionals say that in addition to creating a clear estate plan, individuals should try to communicate with family members about the plan. This can help alleviate misunderstandings while the estate owner is still alive. Some people also write a "letter of intent" to be read after their death.

One common error is putting an adult child in charge of a trust. This can create tension with the other siblings. A better choice may be to retain a corporate trustee.

A parent who wishes to disinherit an adult child may want to consider other approaches to reduce the likelihood of conflict. For example, the child could be left a small amount with the provision that challenging the will could result in losing any inheritance at all. If the family is blended, the estate owner needs to be particularly careful about ensuring that all children, as well as the current spouse, are adequately provided for.

A trust may protect assets from an irresponsible heir while still allocating funds. It can also keep assets out of the reach of spouses in case of divorce or from others who might take advantage of the heir.

Someone who needs to create an estate plan might want to contact an attorney. One advantage of working with an attorney is that legal counsel may be able to point a client toward solutions that were not previously considered. For example, an estate owner may not realize they can set up a special needs trust to ensure that a relative who receives government benefits is not made ineligible by an inheritance.

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Kramer A. Litvak, P.A.
226 East Government Street
Pensacola, FL 32502

Toll Free: 866-717-9528
Phone: 850-308-1677
Phone: 850-432-0485
Fax: 850-432-9830
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