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Estate planning issues that could result in legal battles

New York residents may have spent time thinking about creating an estate plan. When doing so, there are certain issues to consider that may make a plan easier to execute. For instance, it is important who is named the executor of the estate. This person should be fair and objective about carrying out the wishes of the deceased individual.

However, this could be a moot point if there is no valid will in place prior to an individual passing away. In this scenario, the state may decide who gets an individual's assets. If a will does exist, it should clearly state who gets an item and why. Forcing family members to figure it out on their own could result in frayed relationships and legal battles between family members.

In the event that minors are to be gifted money, it may be better if there are rules attached to how that money is to be given. Furthermore, all valuable possessions should be inventoried prior to creating a will regardless of who is getting an item. Doing so may make it easier to ensure that the beneficiaries get what they want. Doing so might also help a grantor to fully evaluate the size of their estate, which can help limit excess taxation when the items transfer ownership upon death. In cases where this is not done properly, family members may have to sell items to pay the taxes on their value.

To increase the odds that an estate plan meets an individual's needs, it may be a good idea to review that plan every whenever a major event takes place. This may be done with the help of an estate planning attorney. An attorney may also be able to draft the necessary documents for passing on assets if a client is in the beginning stages of creating an estate plan.

Source: Forbes, "Family Feud! 6 Stories Of Problematic Estate Planning," Feb. 19, 2015

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