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Family considerations in estate planning

Some people in Florida who are creating an estate plan might think it is just about figuring out where they want their money and other assets to go, but estate planning can be much more complex than that. One of the most complicated aspects of estate planning is not the financial part but the human element.

There are a number of different things people may want to consider. For example, individuals might think about what they want to happen to property if they pass it to a child and the child gets a divorce. There could be a remarriage, and there might be stepchildren. An adult child might have substance abuse problems or might just be irresponsible with money. Another consideration is how well siblings get along. If they are both named successor trustees, this could be an issue. It may also be necessary to make changes to an estate plan over time as assets or relationships change.

There could also be disputes about what to do with property. For example, there may be an asset that one child values for sentimental reasons, but another child wishes to sell it. A parent must decide how to resolve this as well as what proportion of the estate to leave the children. The parent may want to leave more to a child who needs it more.

Similar issues can arise for people who are leaving property to heirs even if they do not have children. Trusts may be the right solution to protect the property in many of the above situations. For example, if an heir is likely to be irresponsible, assets could be placed in a trust managed by a trustee. However, it is important to choose the right trustee. A professional may be a better choice than a family member.

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