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Tips to Include Family in Your Estate Planning

Daryll Pomey Orat - Friday, November 08, 2013

It may seem like the simplest thing in the world to include your family in all estate planning matters, but many people bungle up during this process. For instance, many persons choose to include their children and their grandchildren in your estate planning matters, but not the spouses of their children or grandchildren. That may not always be the best course of action, and it sows the seeds of resentment, awkwardness and even disputes later.

If you own solid assets like properties or businesses, and want estate planning to affect not just your children and grandchildren but also future generations, then it makes sense to include as many beneficiaries in your estate planning process as possible. Have meetings with family members, including the spouses of children.

It's okay to decide what kind of details you want to share with specific members of your family. For instance, estate planning lawyers in California find that some families like to keep most secret details of their financial matters to immediate members like the children and grandchildren, but prefer to include spouses in discussions of other matters, like philanthropic activities. Ultimately however, the more people in your family included in your estate planning, the less scope there is for hostility and disputes later.

To keep wealth within the family, insist on nuptial agreements for yourself and other members of your family. In the absence of prenuptial agreements, assets, properties and even businesses can go outside the family. In states like California, the existing laws can allow new wives to walk away with most of the assets and properties, possibly leaving children from a former marriage with little. Prenuptial agreements can prevent such situations from occurring.

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