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Avoid family conflict with these estate planning tips

People in Florida who are creating an estate plan might want to consider whether there are any elements that could cause family conflict. In some cases, the problem may be the choice of executor. Some family members might start to think the executor is stealing from them. Sometimes, the executor might not respond to communication and might fail to complete important documents. One solution is to appoint a corporate trustee or a professional fiduciary to manage the estate.

Some families may fight over sentimental items that have little or no monetary worth. People should talk to their families beforehand about what items they want and create a list that they place with the estate planning documents.

Some people might want to set up a trust that manages distribution of assets to family members over a period of time. This kind of arrangement is not uncommon to avoid leaving a significant sum to younger people, but it should not stretch over decades or be overly restrictive. Another issue may be one in which children from an earlier relationship do not get any assets until the surviving spouse dies. This could be a long wait. Finally, some parents may want to distribute assets unequally among children. They should talk to the children about this beforehand.

Working with an attorney is another way to help ensure that an estate plan is less likely to cause conflict or be challenged. An attorney may be able to ensure that the legal language is clear and the plan adequately spells out a person's intentions. Beneficiary designations can also raise issues. Assets such as life insurance and retirement accounts are passed using these. In a conflict between instructions in a will or trust and the beneficiary designation, the beneficiary designation usually overrides the other documents, so it is important to keep it updated.

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