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How an estate plan can prevent family disputes

The creation of an estate plan can help prevent family disputes long after you are gone. Families that don't have estate plans in place could wind up fighting over assets, money, property and other inheritance items upon your death. The fighting could become so intense that your children might stop speaking to each other. Here's how an estate plan can help avoid family disputes.

When you are drafting your estate plan, or updating it, it's best to inform your children if they are adults. Explain what it is you are updating or adding to the estate plan. Make sure they understand what is going on and what will happen when you pass away.

You should name an executor of your estate. This can be challenging if you have more than one child. Find a way to explain why you chose one child over another to be your executor. It could be that the child lives close to you, has a legal background or you simply chose the oldest child.

Do your best to divide your estate equally among all of your children. There's truly no reason to give one child more of an inheritance than the other child unless one child is no longer in the picture (not speaking to the family anymore).

If you are leaving money to your adult children, make sure you specify if it is a gift to the child or a loan. If it is a loan, make sure you outline repayment terms to the estate.

Did you know that an estate plan not only protects you but also your family when you are gone? When a solid estate plan is in place, you will be able to prevent your adult children, spouse, siblings and other family members from fighting over your assets and their inheritance since it will all be spelled out in a legal document.

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