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As an estate planner, do a favor for your family: communicate

Mum’s the word.

We all know that expression, right? It slides in nicely along something like, “Keep it close to the vest.”

The bottom line stressed in such adages is reticence, a pulling back, a strategy of silence in lieu of overt willingness to divulge the details.

Although that approach can be a clear winner in some instances by avoiding conflict or new problems, it is just as equally a manifest loser in one family-centric sphere.

That is estate administration. Concerning that territory, one recent media spotlighting of factors that often undermine a planner’s well-intentioned strategies serves up this warning: “Don’t leave your family members in the dark about your estate plans.”

Family conflict was cited in a recent poll of planning professionals as a core catalyst in battles relevant to wills, inheritances and related planning considerations. And the cited tensions are most often found to center around lack of planning-linked communications held in a timely and ongoing way with all affected individuals.

Such conflict is increasing, given the progressively changing composition of many American families. Yesteryear’s “nuclear” unit of mom, dad and the kids has now been supplanted in scores of millions of cases. Highly blended groups are nowadays marked by former spouses, children of past marriages, a great disparity in the age of married partners and more.

Those people do not want to be in the dark until the very moment a final estate accounting is made.

And they don’t have to be. “[C]lue your beneficiaries in on the how and why of your estate plan,” says one wealth manager.

And keep it updated to ensure its continued applicability in light of material changes that inevitably occur in all families over time.

Effective planning spells opportunity just as much as it does challenge. A proven estate administration attorney with a deep well of experience assisting diverse clients can help with the details.

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