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Involving family in estate planning

Ohio residents who are preparing their estate plan should not neglect the step of talking to their family members about it. In many cases, despite careful planning, assets are lost and conflicts are serious after a person's death. Therefore, communication can be as important as this planning in ensuring that a person's wishes are carried out.

There are a number of questions that people should consider. One is whether family members are familiar with the estate plan. People may want to think about how much information they are comfortable sharing and when. This may include allowing them to read the will and other estate planning documents. People may also want to consider how much their beneficiaries know about the net worth of the estate and when to share that information.

Even if the information is not shared, it may be helpful to introduce family members to advisers such as attorneys and accountants. Another consideration is how involved heirs are in planning investments and how prepared they may be to manage that themselves. Ultimately, people should consider how to pass on their values as well as their wealth to minimize the likelihood of family conflict.

In some cases, some or all of the beneficiaries might be unable to manage the estate or even their own assets. Trusts may be set up with a trustee who is in charge of the assets and who manages distributions to beneficiaries. However, even if this is the case, communication with family members is still important. If family members have a hand in setting goals, they may be more inclined to work toward making an estate plan a success.

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