Goals of estate planning include avoiding family disputes

by | Mar 27, 2019 | Estate Planning |

The main goal for many people when crafting an estate plan in New York is to cover all the bases and ensure the assets and properties go where the testator wants. This can mean many things and the strategies to achieve the desired ends are critical to the process. Understanding potential pitfalls is a sound way to avoid them. Paying attention to what industry experts see as risks is key. A recent survey says that there are three basic concerns with estate planning in 2019: family disputes, the fluctuating markets and changes to the tax code. For people preparing or updating their estate plan, these must be considered.

Although the estate plan is designed to avoid family disagreements, they still happen. Beneficiaries and who is designated as such will unavoidably leave some members of the family feeling left out or thinking they did not get what they are entitled to. A lack of communication regarding the estate plan is also a foundation for dispute. Blended families in which the testator might have remarried and had children with the new spouse can also be the catalyst for problems. Being transparent, having dialogue and keeping family members as up to date as possible are ways to avoid these disagreements.

People might not immediately think of market volatility as a potential problem with an estate plan, but advisors see it as a concern. Many estate plans address lifetime gifting, but the person’s assets must be sufficient to cover that and their plans for retirement. Being aware of market changes and how the worst-case scenario can impact it is key. Finally, the new tax laws are important for the estate plan. Since the estate tax and federal gift limits were increased, there are tactics that can be used to maximize the benefit. Trusts are becoming more popular as a protective device for various assets.

Estate planning can be complicated and how a person goes about creating their documents is frequently dictated by changes to the law and the family dynamic, among other issues. A law firm that has helped many people with their estate planning needs can attempt to address these issues and more to devise strategies that achieve their goals.