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Family conflicts pose estate planning challenge

When New York residents make plans for the future, they may run up against entrenched, emotional family conflicts. According to a survey conducted by one banking institution, family conflict outweighs market volatility and tax reform as the major challenge to estate planning. The survey included 105 participants in an annual conference on estate planning that involved professionals throughout the sector such as attorneys, insurance advisers, accountants and trust officers. Almost half of the respondents said that family issues posed the biggest problem to completing an estate plan.

There are a number of factors that can exacerbate family conflicts during the estate planning process. The designation of beneficiaries, especially for valuable and desirable properties, is the most common source. In other cases, difficulties with blended family relationships or communication between family members can also lead to ongoing disputes. Blended families may face their own unique challenges when it comes to making an estate plan, especially when the two sides of the family have substantial disparities in wealth. When people remarry later in life, there may be few expectations that wealth will be combined, but these questions can become more complex when a plan is not communicated in advance.

Of course, family troubles were not the only concern that experts cited. Volatile markets could mean that people are concerned with how to invest their funds. In addition, many people are considering revising their estate plans after the 2017 tax reforms, given the larger gift and estate tax exemption available.

People who are thinking about how to deal with their assets in the future may have many questions. An estate planning attorney can help people develop a plan and create the key documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney to make it a reality.

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