Avoid estate litigation through communication

Estate planning can be difficult for some people. Some British Columbia residents would rather not discuss issues of mortality, which, while understandable, can be detrimental to the interests of their heirs. Speaking to adult children about one's estate plan, and involving them in the process of creating it, is a good way to engage the family, make one's intentions clear, and hopefully avoid estate litigation on the basis of any misunderstanding. 

Talking about estate planning can be very emotional; certainly, most people do not wish to ruminate on what will happen once their parents pass away. It can be helpful to introduce the topic of estate planning by way of less emotionally-charged topics, like helping to pay for a grandchild's education. However such a meaningful conversation is started, it is vital to have it. 

Once the conversation has been broached, it is important to outline the specifics of the plan. If it is possible to provide a copy of the pertinent documentation, including a will, it may help to settle the minds of children and grandchildren. In some cases, it is preferable to have conversations about the content of these documents even before they are drafted. 

Communication about estate planning can be challenging, but it is very important for estate holders to make very clear their intentions and wishes. Here in British Columbia, there are multiple resources available to families who are embarking on estate planning for an aging parent. A strong, thorough estate plan can help the family avoid estate litigation and, more importantly, address the pertinent points of their relatives' passing in clear and understandable terms. 

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Lunny Atmore

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