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Wills and Family Feuds – Avoid Reality TV Scenarios

When you do estate planning, you want to be sure that you get it right.  It’s your best opportunity to insure that your assets are properly distributed among your beneficiaries – your best opportunity to control what happens.  Unfortunately, so often, family feuds erupt once a loved one is gone.  There are infinite reasons for this.  However, working with an experienced estate planning attorney can reduce the potential for disputes.
 An attorney will work with you to help ensure that the language in your Last Will and Testament accurately reflects your wishes.  A properly written will provides clear instructions regarding the distribution of your tangible personal property such as jewelry and household items, and a clear description of specific bequests of cash or other property. It specifies who the executor(s) will be (i.e., the person or persons overseeing the distribution of your assets and the payment of taxes and expenses from your estate) and provides directions to those executors regarding tax issues.  If you’ve established a trust or trusts, trustees will be identified in the will.
  Working with an estate planning attorney will help ensure that all the proper documents are prepared.  Life insurance policies, IRAs, 401(k)s, pensions and other retirement plans all require that beneficiary designation forms be completed and filed with the companies before your death. Such assets are not disposed of by your will.  The same applies to revocable trusts that fall under the jurisdiction of the trust document, not the will. These are just a few examples of assets that require documents other than a will.
If not properly done, estate planning can be a land mine filled with opportunities for family arguments once you’re gone.  You don’t want that for your loved ones.
Getting Legal Help
Attorney Elga Goodman is a highly regarded and experienced estate planning attorney who has helped many families create flexible wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents that protect assets and loved ones.  We can make the estate planning process easy for you and your family.  Contact us today at 973-841-5111.

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