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‘Tis The Season to Make an Estate Plan

Daryll Pomey Orat - Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Put estate planning on your list of priorities this holiday season. You have the entire family together and you have plenty of time on your hands. It’s the right time for you to begin seriously planning ahead to ensure that your family continues to remain happy and united.

If you don't already have an estate plan, it is a good time to start talking about your plans with family. Try to involve all family members. The most disputed estate plans are those in which family members were not taken into confidence. An element of surprise often leads to bitterness, possibly leading to a long legal battle.

Put out what you want to do with your assets, and listen to inputs from family members. There may be members who want a certain piece of jewelry, or have their eye on an antique piece of furniture for sentimental reasons. Be flexible, and focus on distributing assets, while being fair to everyone. Fairness, however, doesn't necessarily mean equal treatment. Speak to an estate planning lawyer in Los Angeles about how you can begin drafting your estate plan.

If you already have an estate plan, the holiday season gives you a perfect reason to update your plans. Any estate planning lawyer will tell you that drafting the plan is only half the battle. Your estate plan needs to be updated frequently to factor in many of the changes that could have occurred in your life since the plan was drafted. For instance, there may have been divorces in your family. You could have gotten divorced or widowed. There may be grandchildren born into the family who also must now be included in the will.

Your estate plan must affect all of these changes. If you have not bothered to establish guardians for your minor children, do so now. Go over your will, and decide if this is how you want your assets to be distributed.


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