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Estate planning: Often, it's far more than just about finances

A proven estate administration attorney can readily attest from experience and careful attention to details that, when it comes to estate planning matters, it's often more than just about the money.

A recent Wall Street Journal article well notes that, pointing to "legacy" concerns that are often of paramount importance to families as one generation passes to the next.

Of course, seamlessly tailored and fully responsive estate planning will always ensure that the tools and instruments that best provide for asset preservation and conveyance -- as well as fully account for taxation and other relevant financial issues -- are all duly identified, drafted and executed.

Those commonly include a will, one or more trusts to account for family-specific situations and aspirations (for example, special needs and charitable giving) and a designated power of attorney to act in financial and health-care matters as may be required. Estate planning documents also centrally include a living will, which can be of utmost importance to family members in ascertaining a loved one’s wishes regarding care toward the end of life.

A recent survey carried out under the aegis of Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America indicates that families in Texas and nationally also -- and often -- harbor concerns well beyond those immediately stated above. Most centrally, those concerns are focused on heirlooms, keepsakes and family memories.

“The things that make your family unique … are most important in the legacy discussion,” says one Allianz executive commenting on the survey.

An experienced estate administration attorney knows that, as well as the importance of encouraging early and candid family discussions on estate-related issues. A family that pays attention to such things well before the time that the details of an estate plan are fully revealed can avoid uncertainty and polarizing issues down the road.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Your heirs want this even more than your money," Andrea Coombes, Dec. 21, 2013

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