Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

Family complications can be an estate planning problem

The estate planning process can be complicated at times for people in Connecticut who want to ensure their families are taken care of after they pass away. However, internal family fighting can be one of the most concerning factors in estate planning; 44 percent of estate planning professionals surveyed by TD Wealth said that the biggest problem they face in planning for wills and wealth transfer is family division and disputes. While tax reforms can lead to changes in the way wealth is handled, family fighting can be emotionally intense, not merely legally complex.

Another 25 percent of estate planning professionals noted changes related to tax reform as an added complication in 2018, while 12 percent said that volatility in the stock market could make some planning and investment decisions more difficult. Professionals also discussed the various key estate planning documents and which ones were more contentious for their clients. While 17 percent said wills were the most difficult and 16 percent cited powers of attorney, over half said that designations of beneficiaries and child guardians were the most complicated for clients.

Among the factors that can lead to problems while planning for the future include handling remarriages, children from prior relationships and stepchildren in a fair and appropriate manner. In addition, there are a number of family-owned businesses, and dealing with how these businesses are passed on can be fraught. The emotional implications of estate planning for family relationships can be far more difficult for clients to handle than more factual concerns about the best way to handle finances.

When planning for the future, developing estate planning documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney is an important part of protecting one's family and assets. An estate planning lawyer may be able to help people to draw up the documents they need while providing advice on how to handle financial planning and navigate complex issues.

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