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Avoiding conflict surrounding trusts and inheritance

Many Philadelphia residents will spend a great deal of time and effort constructing their estate plans. The end results will be comprehensive plans that makes use of wills, trusts and other vehicles to facilitate the transfer of wealth to their intended heirs. Unfortunately, far too many people fail to adequately communicate with their loved ones about those plans, which can lead to a great deal of tension and strife amongst surviving family members.

The best way to ensure that inheritance matters are handled properly is to talk about one's plans with the intended heirs. This is the time to provide a basic outline of how assets will be distributed, as well as the details of any trusts or other planning tools. It may be necessary to talk about why those decisions were made, which can be a difficult conversation. However, having those talks now can make things far easier for loved ones when the time comes to implement those plans.

An important consideration is to revisit the topic any time that those plans change. Often, heirs will recall a long-ago talk about how certain assets will be handled, but they will have no idea that their loved one made changes to those plans in the time between that discussion and the grantor's death. The result is often heavy infighting, which can lead to litigation.

In passing down accumulated wealth, Philadelphia residents are giving loved ones gifts. An important component of such a gift is the knowledge needed to accept that the existing will and trusts are those that were intended and that there is no need to fight for changes. The only way to achieve this end is to take the time to discuss the issue with loved ones, along with the willingness to revisit the topic as needed.

Source:, "Bonnie Kraham: Planning can help avoid estate fight", Bonnie Kraham, Dec. 9, 2015

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