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Discussing estate planning matters with family members

Estate planning is not always a topic that families want to discuss, particularly at times of celebration. At best, it might seem to be a bit of an odd topic -- speaking about what happens after one dies. But, while families are sharing time together this holiday season, they also may want to discuss estate planning.

The holidays and estate planning can go together well. While generations get together, discussing what is important in regards to estate planning can be a blessing. Estate planning can actually be an important "gift" for those who are left behind. When a person dies, the family often needs to deal with a lot of stress regarding funeral arrangements and other details, along with working through their own grief. When this is planned ahead of time, families can feel at peace knowing their loved one's wishes have been communicated and will be followed.

Another advantage of creating an estate plan is ensuring that one's property will go to where a person wants them to go. This could involve arranging for charitable gifts, or ensuring certain special items go to an intended recipient with whom the deceased shared a particular connection. Without an estate plan in place, assets may not go to someone a person would want them to go, such as to a dear friend or less-direct relative. A person may also miss out on a chance to give one last gift to a charity of choice.

There are a number of decisions a person needs to make when it comes to creating an estate plan. An attorney who specializes in estate planning can go over a person's options with them, ask them important questions, and guide them through the process. Having a conversation with loved ones over the holidays about creating an estate plan and making sure a person's wishes will be followed after they pass away can be a great way to begin the estate planning process.

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