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Avoiding family stress in the estate planning process

Many California estate owners hope to one day pass their properties and assets on to their children and other loved ones. In order to protect their assets and document their wishes and goals concerning such matters, many enter a process to develop carefully crafted plans. So as to avoid family discord and potentially stressful situations, it is often best to seek skilled estate planning guidance.

Those who own ranches or other expansive pieces of property are advised to define their own goals and objectives before entering discussions with future heirs regarding inheritance. Challenges often arise in the planning phases of an estate; therefore, it may be best to iron out problems before presenting one's plan to other family members. Since estate planning is considered an ongoing process, changes can often be made at later points in time if deemed necessary.

Many estate owners want to take their children's opinions into consideration before making final decisions regarding their wills, trusts or other estate documents. Some are uncomfortable speaking about their own mortality, and they may find it less stressful by acting alongside experienced representation. An estate planning attorney can help clarify current laws and regulations in a particular state and offer suggestions as to what options may best align with one's specific immediate and long-term goals.

Whether a family farm or ranch is intended to remain within the family's ownership or is expected to be sold at the time of the owner's death, a thorough estate plan will include all necessary documents to prepare for such arrangements. Clear communication between family members is often a key factor toward a well-established plan. Through sound counsel and effective estate planning guidance, a California ranch owner can hope for a smooth transition and distribution of assets among chosen heirs when the time comes.

Source: itemonline.com, "Estate planning and the family ranch", Sam A. Moak, July 31, 2016

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