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Strategies for a successful estate plan in California

Having an estate plan is a wise choice for Californians whether they have significant assets or their portfolio is one of more modest means. The estate plan can detail how asset distribution will be handled, what the heirs will receive and more. Strategies for a successful completion of an estate plan are extensive, but there are certain basic steps that everyone should take.

Family disputes often arise over the assets. This can stem from other issues that the family members never fully dealt with or it can be specifically over the assets after a loved one has passed. There is also the possibility that the testator had more than one marriage and the various extended family members are expecting to receive a share of the estate. Having a comprehensive estate plan can avoid any rancor. Even if family members are not happy with the doling out of the assets, the document is there to detail what is given to whom.

Communication is vital to make sure that the wishes are carried out. Many people taking out a will or formulating an estate plan fail to be honest and do not do what they want because they do not want to be spoken of negatively and do not want to disappoint anyone. However, decisions must be made in the present to avoid conflict and confusion in the future. Discussing it can iron out any problems. Revisions and updates are frequently necessary with an estate plan. With family changes comes the need to change the estate plan. For example, if a person has remarried, he or she might want to include the new spouse.

Many people have a business that they want to stay in their family. A failure to address this with a detailed succession plan might leave the business and the heirs vulnerable to losing it. Being organized with the succession and how the various aspects of the business are handled is essential. Estate planning and probate might not be an easy matter to discuss, but it must be done. Speaking to an attorney who is experienced in the entire process is a smart decision.

Source: stockinvestor.com, "4 More Estate Planning Action Steps," Bob Carlson, June 2, 2017

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