The holidays are a good time to talk about estate plans

As people age, it's important that they begin to talk about estate planning. It can be a difficult topic to bring up, and it may be uncomfortable. Despite that, it's a good idea to talk about estate planning, because without a good plan, the estate could be heavily taxed, go into probate or face other issues following your death or the death of someone who is close to you.

When an estate plan is in place, there can be a smooth transition of the estate to the beneficiaries following an individual's death. When there isn't, the potential beneficiaries have to go to court to work out the fine details of the estate, what taxes are owed and what debts need to be paid. Estate planning isn't always a pleasant topic, but to avoid going to probate, talking about it is worth your time.

How can you bring up the need for an estate plan to your parents or loved ones?

Be direct. If you try to bring up the subject nonchalantly, you may not get the answers you need. Instead, talk about an estate plan and its importance. Ask if your loved ones have estate plans and if there is anything you should know about the plan. Encourage aging parents, aunts and uncles to take time to develop a plan, so their beneficiaries don't have to deal with what they leave behind without a good plan in place.

Developing an estate plan takes a little time and money, but it saves much more time and money in the long term.

Source: Gwinnett Citizen, "Estate Planning | Did Mom Seem Different to You?," James Miskell, Nov. 15, 2017

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