How Relationships Affect the Estate Planning Process

September 22, 2022

Estate planning is about being proactive to protect your loved ones and your property while granting you peace of mind. Often this planning process does not occur in a vacuum. There are many people involved and the intricacies of all the personalities and intertwined relationships can have a big impact on the estate planning process.

Distractions

First, relationship tensions and managing others’ expectations can create distractions that prevent you from properly focusing on the right issues. Lack of focus during planning can lead to mistakes and oversights that prevent you from realizing your goals, and even worse, cause disastrous consequences. Family fighting creates a negative environment which can also lead to health problems, legal issues and financial ruin. Attempting to clear up unresolved issues prior to focusing on your estate plan may be a helpful first step. If this is not possible, keeping a clear head around the issues will be important. Discuss the issues with your attorney to ensure an unbiased, rational advisor understands all the dynamics involved.

Managing Risk

Estate planning is about managing risk. Identify and try to understand all the risks presented so that you can mitigate it during estate planning. It may be mental illnesses, personality disorders or addictions that pose risks to your estate plan. Doing the research on the conditions to fully understand family members who will be a part of your estate plan can help you tailor the plan to fit each person's specific needs.

Building a Team

Finding the right team to help navigate you through the estate planning process is also crucial. You should feel comfortable confiding in the team members and know that they have the competence and acumen to help you. Your team will consist of the following:

- Estate Planning Attorney: The attorney will help you think strategically and relay various options for you to consider prior to any actual document drafting.

- Financial Advisor: The advisor will help you determine your financial goals. These goals will be used by the estate planning attorney as the beacon towards which all the planning efforts revolve around.

- Accountant: A CPA will provide tax advice which may impact planning.

Estate planning is an important process that yields many benefits beyond getting your legal affairs in order. It is the foundation for financial security. Often an estate planning consultation will open your eyes to so many issues you never considered. The knowledge provided sets you on a path to make smart decisions. Relationship management is an often overlooked, but very important component of the estate planning process. For more information on how to get started on a comprehensive estate plan, contact the estate planning attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

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