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Planning for more than distribution of estate assets

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2017 | Estate Administration & Probate

Sitting down for a serious family talk can be pretty intimidating. It’s likely that nobody knows a person better than their family, but having frank conversations can be hard. Some families also like to smooth over the rough edges of life and prefer to talk about nice things. Avoidance isn’t always a good answer. Some California residents may benefit from a practical strategy for talking to one’s family about an estate plan for the division of estate assets and other end-of-life concerns. 

Experts have said that any conversation about money is actually a conversation about values. Estate planning is also the same way. It asks many questions like, is it better to have a long life or a comfortable one? Is it better to have an awkward conversation about a funeral now, or to leave tough decisions to remaining heirs after one’s death? 

Some families choose to speak to each potential heir individually, while others like the idea of telling everyone about estate plans at the same time. While each family may have their own preferred style of communicating, the important thing to remember is to actually make your estate planning official by filing documents with the proper officials. One’s preferred wishes will not override state law unless they are made legal. 

In California, there are certain process for choosing a power of attorney, making a trust or writing a will. Distribution of estate assets will follow state law unless a person has a formal will, and without a will, the family may find themselves facing unnecessary legal drama and delays. Some individuals choose to consult with an attorney for their planning needs, in order to make sure legal protocols are followed. 

Source:, “How to talk to your family about your estate plan“, Paul A. Merriman, Sept. 6, 2017


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