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Survey: Family drama causes estate issues

Families face a variety of estate planning challenges, and family drama may be chief among them. In fact, 44 percent of planning professionals say family conflict is the biggest threat to estate planning this year, followed by tax reform (25 percent) and market volatility (12 percent), according to a survey by TD Wealth.

Though conflict may make planning a challenge, a careful estate plan can reduce future family feuds. Take these steps to minimize tension after you’re gone:

  • Use an experienced estate planner to ensure you have the proper planning documents in place to outline your intentions and appoint a fiduciary.
  • Hold frank conversations so everyone knows what to expect in the event of your death. Fewer surprises mean less discord.
  • If you are giving unequal gifts, tell your heirs why and document your rationale in an estate planning letter.

Also, tax law changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could significantly impact your estate plans. For the sake of your legacy and future family harmony, families need to engage in cross-generational dialogue and financial planning.

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