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Avoid family feuds in your estate settlement

Dear Clients and Friends,

Family relationships can be complicated, especially when it comes to discussing finances and estate plans. No one wants to imagine their loved ones fighting over their estate after they’re gone. However, there are steps you can take to avoid family discord and ensure your wishes are carried out without conflict:

1. Good estate planning documents: If estate planning documents are done correctly, they leave little room for dispute or challenge. That alone can help diffuse family conflicts.

2. Consider a trust: If you have substantial assets, setting up a trust can help ensure your wishes are carried out and can better protect your assets from any challenges.

3. Communicate early and set expectations: Talk to your beneficiaries about your intentions and the reasoning behind your decisions. That can help avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings. You may want to introduce your heirs to your executor, explain your thinking behind certain gifts, and talk about how you expect decisions will be made.

4. Add a letter to your trust/will: You can leave an informal letter explaining why you distributed your assets the way you did. While it will not be a legally binding document, it may help give your heirs some clarity and closure over your bequests.

5. Update regularly: Life changes such as births, deaths, marriages and divorces can impact your estate plan. Regularly review and update these documents to ensure they reflect your current wishes.

6. Seek professional advice: Consulting with us can help ensure your testamentary documents are legally sound (see no. 1 above) and that your wishes will be carried out as you intended.

Say no to family feuds and yes to peaceful settlements, because nothing ruins an estate like a bad family rivalry. And nothing ruins a family like a nasty estate fight. With clear communication and support from our offices you can take proactive steps to prevent potential battles among your heirs.



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