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Your Health

Can Your Estate Plan Save Your Kids’ Relationship and Give You Peace of Mind?

There's no time like the present to plan for your future

Do you worry about what is going to happen with your children after you pass away? Parents want to think the best of their children, but the fact is that many adult children lose their perspective in the wake of the death of a parent and end up permanently damaging their sibling relationships. When Mom or Dad dies, the hurt and emotion take over; insecurities come out; deep-seated rivalries make themselves known; and logic goes out the window. What all of this can lead to is years and years of brothers and sisters taking each other to court, spending thousands of dollars of your estate fighting over mementos and heirlooms, and leaving lifetime relationships in tatters ... unless you have an estate plan that handles both the legal issues and the relationship dynamics.

A recent Scripps Howard News Service article explains that the best way to prevent this from happening to your children is by creating a good estate plan. A good estate plan includes a revocable trust, wills, durable powers of attorney, and advance health-care directives. But it is much more than just documents. It can be a great comfort to your children, and can save them thousands of dollars in probate and trust administration fees. Most important, a good estate plan is very clear about your intentions for your assets, leaving no room for court battles or ugly disagreements. But getting that good estate plan takes time and forethought — and the help of a professional.

A good estate plan takes into account the relationship’s dynamics, including the personalities of your heirs, as well as your own wishes. If one of your children has a problem with substance abuse, or if two of your children had a fight 10 years ago and still don’t speak, those things are considered in the creation of your estate planning. A good estate plan deals with small items and family heirlooms with emotional value, as well as real property and valuable liquid assets. A good estate plan is created with the idea of building the best future for your heirs; it doesn’t leave the difficult decisions to be made by others when you’re gone.

Families evolve over time and so should your estate plan. Some relationship issues get worse, some get better, and yet what is certain is that relationships change. Because of this, it is very important that your estate-planning attorney takes the time to listen and understand your family dynamics. Often estate plans don’t get administered for 10, 20 or 30 years. You want to have an attorney who will be there for your family.

If you would like to know more about how to smooth the way for your children and grandchildren by avoiding the pitfalls of probate and trust litigation, contact an attorney who specializes in estate planning — one who helps you navigate your family’s relationship dynamics. You deserve an attorney who can help you create not just a good estate plan for your situation, but also the best future for your family.

Click here for more information on Mason Law Group’s estate planning services, or call 805.564.4664.

— Sean Mason is an attorney and certified mediator with Mason Law Group.

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