Jennifer C. Rydberg, Attorney at Law
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The importance of sharing an estate plan

Estate planning is one of the most important legal things a Kent-area family can do. When a person takes the time to create an estate plan they are leaving a gift for the family when the individual passes away. Because of this planning ahead, the family will know their loved one's wishes, and their assets will be protected.

Money issues are often hard to talk about with family. They are personal matters that people like to keep private. Although it can be hard to share information with family regarding estate planning, it is important. Putting off the discussion regarding the estate plan can be a mistake, as it may lead to family strife. Sharing an estate plan can help a family learn why they will receive what the estate owner planned for them. If a beneficiary believes they are not getting a fair cut of the estate, then they can talk with the grantor and learn why the estate is being divided in that way. If a beneficiary doesn't find out until after their loved one dies, a family struggle can ensue. A person can also create a family values statement to share why they divided their estate in such a way, which can help with any kind of trust dispute after they have passed.

Creating an estate plan is important in making sure a person's assets are passed down in the way in which the person intended. Everyone has different values, and knowing that their wishes will be followed upon their death can be comforting. Sharing an estate plan with family members about an estate plan can be a good way to have a conversation about what is important and to them.

A legal professional who is skilled in this area of the law can help a family create an estate plan that works for their unique situation. An estate plan can include wills, trusts, end of life decisions, guardianships, powers of attorney, and many other documents. When an estate plan is in place, a family can feel secure knowing their wishes will be followed.

Source: The Times Herald, "You should share your estate plan", Matthew M. Wallace, July 28, 2017

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