Edgar Paltzer is an attorney-at-law who specialises in providing legal advice on wealth structuring services. This article will provide an overview of some of the most important considerations in inheritance planning.

Making clear plans and communicating them to heirs is crucial in effective inheritance planning. Although uncertainty over the division and inheritance of estates is not uncommon, it can cause significant and lasting conflict between family members. The key to avoiding this is clear communication, along with carefully crafted legal documentation, including a will, to ensure that the benefactor’s wishes are conveyed concisely and honoured.

In terms of ensuring smooth estate planning, it is important for benefactors to involve their family, discussing their intentions with their heirs. Clear communication during the benefactor’s lifetime can help to avoid a great deal of misunderstanding following their passing. It is generally preferable for both beneficiaries and executors to be made aware that they are named in the will.

In order to spell out their wishes and exercise control over who inherits what, it is prudent for the benefactor to execute a professionally prepared will. In lieu of this, their estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy, which may not align with the benefactor’s wishes. In addition to making a will that can be easily located, it will also make the executor’s role easier if the benefactor maintains clear records of all their assets and liabilities, making the process of winding up and distributing the estate smoother and faster.

In some situations, making lifetime gifts or creating a trust may be beneficial, enabling the benefactor to see for themselves the impact of their gift in helping their adult children to achieve financial security – a particularly pertinent consideration against the backdrop of the current cost-of-living crisis.

In addition to identifying and notifying executors and heirs and drafting a will and any other relevant estate planning documents, it is also important for benefactors to consider making health and legal directives, providing people they trust with permission to handle their legal and healthcare matters should they become incapacitated.

Mortality and money are delicate subjects that force people to confront issues that can be hard to discuss. Nevertheless, inheritance planning is crucial in terms of ensuring that the benefactor’s wishes are accurately relayed and followed, helping to ensure a smooth transferral of assets and avoiding the risk of misunderstandings and conflict among family members, as well as potentially costly legal disputes.

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