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Estate planning: Keeping it simple

When people in Orlando are deciding on how they want to divide their assets after they are gone, many can get caught up in the minutiae and lose sight of the big picture. In many cases, it is recommended that people who are putting together an estate plan do their best to keep it simple.

Determining how to fairly split up assets and finances among family members may be difficult. Things change over time and instead of trying to dictate the execution of an estate, some experts suggest that it may be more important for a person to focus on their intentions and priorities.

In other words, it should be relatively simple to explain an estate plan. If there are too many strategies and variables and conditions involved, it may be too complicated to understand and at some point, that may all be irrelevant. For example, many people who create an estate plan focus on tax-avoidance strategies, which is beneficial to a point. However, tax codes change and without some flexibility, there may be no way for a descendant to undo or alter certain measures.

Overall, a person may want to focus on prioritizing goals in an estate plan, rather than specify each term and condition. From splitting up assets between kids to issues involving philanthropy and investments, the aim of an estate plan should be to openly communicate your wishes when you are no longer able to do so. Instead of concentrating on tax-saving opportunities, it may be more advantageous to communicate simply so that mistakes and misunderstandings can be avoided.

Developing a simple and straight-forward estate plan may work best for many people. However, every person and every estate is different. Discussing the options with an experienced attorney may help a person develop the most beneficial plan for all parties.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Best to Keep Estate Plans Simple," Thomas Coyle, Sept. 19, 2012

  • Our firm works with people in all phases of estate planning. For more information on the topics explored in this post, please visit our Orlando estate planning page.

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