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Survey: Family conflict at top of estate planning concerns

Someone wise once said that “other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.” Unfortunately, though we might well “end with the family,” conflicts within that basic social unit can make everyone unhappy.

According to a recent survey, family conflict has again been determined to be “the leading threat to estate planning.” Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) said identified family conflict as the biggest problem in estate planning, followed by the 24 percent who said market volatility and 14 percent who identified tax reform as the top concern.

The survey by TD Wealth at the 53rd Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning delved into the types of family conflict most likely to wreak havoc on family planning. At the top of the list: disagreements over beneficiary designations (30 percent), followed by lack of communication about the estate plan (25 percent) and issues within blended families (21 percent).

A TD Wealth spokesperson said, "Estate planning comes with the responsibility of motivating families to communicate through difficult times, which requires regular dialogue and complete transparency.” He added that the best way to ease communications concerns is by simply having an “honest conversation” with family members about “shared goals and objectives.”

In some cases, it makes the most sense to talk individually to family members about your estate plans, but experts say it can also be wise to have a more general discussion about your plans at a gathering of family members so that everyone gets an outline of your ideas at the same time.

To learn more about ways in which you can create an estate plan that protects your assets and family, contact a Brevard County attorney experienced in estate planning.

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