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Picking an heir (or heirs) is more difficult than you may think

As we have discussed here on this blog, estate planning is a very important process that should begin early in life. The longer you wait to put your estate plan together, the more risk you assume and the more difficult it could be to manage and organize all of the assets you want involved in your estate plan. However, once you put your estate plan together, there is one very important question you will have to answer: who will be your heirs?

It's not as easy a question to answer as it may seem. Before you even name your heirs, you have to establish your estate plan -- and then you will decide how much money goes to charity and what assets are or are not part of your estate plan.

Then, once you choose your heirs, you will have to decide how the assets are divided among the heirs and in what amounts. You could even make this division of assets and wealth more intricate by adding behavior clauses or other provisions to ensure that your heirs are in line.

What about gifts and other assets that are not necessarily typical? How will you deal with those? And how will you inform your heirs about your estate plan and the thinking behind it?

There are so many thing to consider when creating your estate plan -- and even once you think you've got a grip on the issues, there are new issues that sprout up. Consult an experienced estate planning attorney to help you through the more complex matters.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning 101: Picking Your Heirs," Larry Light, Sept. 24, 2014

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