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Estate administration: Plan now, when you can see clearly ahead

“[B]etter late than never” is an adage that does not apply to estate planning.

So notes a writer in an estate planning article from Forbes that focuses on the essentials and provides some meaningful tips for people who have thought about but not implemented a solid plan to provide for their future.

In millions of cases across the country, that future of course encompasses loved ones. Perhaps they are contemplated in an asset-transfer scheme. Maybe one or more family members have special needs that need to be purposefully addressed through specific estate planning instruments. Perhaps there are children from multiple marriages that must be considered.

Forgo or unduly delay estate planning at your peril, notes the above-cited article.

That planning primer also rephrases the above in an alternative and more positive way by stating this: “Leaving an estate plan with clear instructions is your best defense against family discord.”

That seems solidly true, as does the admonition for a would-be planner to timely enlist assistance from a proven estate planning attorney. An experienced lawyer has “probably seen it all,” notes Forbes, “and can help provide guidance on special provisions.”

It might seem counterintuitive to stress negatives when the positive aspects of planning are sought to be highlighted, but noting some of the central problems associated with a lack of tailored estate documents does indeed underscore the importance of preparation and timely implementation.

There is much to think about, ranging from asset preservation, tax avoidance and property transfers to health care considerations, “what-if” scenarios (think second marriages and step-children), beneficiary designations and much more.

A proven planning attorney can help a client identify concerns and opportunities, draft tightly tailored and enforceable documents, and periodically revisit an estate plan to ensure its continuing relevance and viability.

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