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Family members can be greatest estate planning obstacle

In today's world, the modern family is a complex mix of individuals. In some instances, the Colorado family is comprised of two parents and their children. Other families consist of one or two parents with children from other relationships. This diverse family dynamic can have a dramatic impact upon the estate planning needs of the individual.

The driving force behind most estate plans is the desire to minimize estate taxes; however, these taxes are not the only threat to the individual's estate. In many cases, family members are the primary threat. With a mixture of children from the current marriage, children from previous marriages, a current spouse and possibly an ex-spouse or more, deciding exactly who should receive what can become complicated.

For example, children from a previous relationship may object to a current spouse or other children receiving more than what they believe is fair. In most instances, the individual will want to inform beneficiaries of his or her plans rather than leaving them as a surprise for later on. It is possible that if potential beneficiaries feel that they are not receiving their fair share, they may attempt to challenge the will and the individual's estate planning wishes. Such a challenge can lead to large portions of the estate being lost due to legal fees and court battles.

Open communication is essential is ensuring that one's estate is protected and that his or her estate planning desires are fulfilled. By working with experienced legal counsel, the Colorado individual can identify the best way to put his or her affairs in order and then present the estate plan to those affected by it. By addressing potential conflict ahead of time, there should be fewer problems later on.

Source: CNBC, "Say hello to the No. 1 threat to your $11 million inheritance", Darla Mercado, April 11, 2018

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