Estate planning is important, but it also becomes very challenging when certain factors are present.
In January, TD Wealth held their 53rd Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. Attorneys, trust officers, insurance experts and accountants were in attendance. Of these, 105 were asked about the biggest issues that can crop up during estate planning. The three factors these professionals identified included family conflict, market volatility and tax reform.
“These are definitely some of the biggest issues we see in our office,” says Steve Novak of Estate & Probate Legal Group. “It is for these reasons, and more, that it is so important to have an attorney by your side when estate planning. An attorney can help settle all of these issues swiftly, and ensure an estate plan is enforceable, and properly represents the individual’s best interests.”
Some family members may be unhappy with who was chosen, or how much of a share they were gifted. While this may tempt some not to tell their family about their estate plan, failing to communicate the plan with family members was another form of family conflict the participants stated could cause a problem with estate planning.
Somewhat surprisingly, volatile markets can also bring complications to estate planning. Some want to gift beneficiaries with something that will be long-lasting, but short-term fluctuations can cause those making the plan real cause for concern.
Lastly, the major overhaul to tax law in 2017 is now playing a major role in estate planning. With increases in the federal gift and estate tax exemption, more people are starting to place assets they would like to gift into trusts.
This allows the gift to be considered the beneficiary’s and theirs alone. If a child goes through a divorce later in life, a trust will make it clear that it was separate property and so, protect that family member in the future.
Unfortunately, these are just the three main issues that arise most often during estate planning. They are also the biggest reasons anyone creating an estate plan should speak with an attorney that can help.