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Changing demographics: baby boomers and estate planning issues

It makes for classic television drama or real-life headlines, especially when it occurs within well-heeled families: the soured relationship between an aging parent and a child that results in the former disinheriting the latter and roiling the waters of a family's collective relationships.

And, say a number of estate planning practitioners and commentators, will disputes such as that just described are picking up and virtually bound to spike further in upcoming years in Texas and nationally owing to simple demographics. Namely, scores of millions of baby boomers are now either inheriting estates or beginning to pass away in large numbers.

"It's a mushrooming industry," says the president-elect of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils in referring to estate and trust litigation. "You do everything you can to cut off potential litigation in advance."

An experienced estate planning attorney can see upcoming problems that potentially threaten to derail family expectations and goals, and help craft tools and strategies that help thwart disputes and legal problems down the road.

Key to that is the ability of proven estate planning lawyers to listen well and communicate thoroughly with families as they begin their discussions regarding future plans.

Also, and obviously, it is crucial that an estate administration attorney carefully drafts and applies in the most meaningful and creative way the legal instruments that will optimally promote family interest. Trusts, for example, are often exemplary planning devices suitable for a number of family situations, but there are many types, and a particular trust vehicle selected for the right reasons must truly be well considered and carefully executed.

Good communication -- candid and timely -- is a must between family members and an experienced estate planning attorney as a prerequisite for ensuring that estate administration goals are fully promoted as intended.

Source: Bloomberg, "You want to cut your kid out of your will. Or do you?" Lewis Braham, July 23, 2013


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