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How family infighting impacts estate planning

Georgia residents and others should be prepared for family drama when it comes to estate planning. According to a TD Wealth survey of estate planning professionals, 44 percent said that family infighting was the biggest estate planning threat in 2018. The conflicts between family members are often the result of the blended families that are formed through having children from previous marriages.

Individuals who own a family business can experience estate planning tension between those who work for the business and those who don't. This has led to wealth management professionals spending more time getting to know a family's overall goals and possible sources of tension. From there, a plan is created that will help to meet those goals while also avoiding a family's pain points.

The TD Wealth survey also found that 25 percent of respondents said that tax reform was the biggest threat to estate planning in 2018. This may be because the survey was conducted prior to the passage of reform legislation. However, 49.5 percent of respondents said that the tax reform would help clients. At a minimum, the changes to the tax code provide individuals with an impetus to review their current estate plans. One of the significant changes to the tax code is an increase of the federal estate tax exemption from $11.2 million to $22.4 million for married couples.

Ideally, creating an estate plan will be considered an ongoing process as opposed to something completed in one day. By having conversations with siblings, parents and others, it may be possible to reduce the odds of family disputes complicating an estate plan. An attorney may help create estate plan documents or review those already created in an effort to best meet a person's final wishes.

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