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Estate Planning and Family Dynamics

June 13, 2019

West Chester Wills and Estates Lawyers discuss important estate planning and the family dynamics. For many individuals in the process of estate planning, the decisions related to the distribution of assets or the creation of a trust can be made relatively easily. What often complicates matters is the unique family dynamics that can bring undue stress into the situation. This can be especially true in cases of blended families where multiple marriages have taken place. When emotions run high between family members, even the simplest estate planning preparations can become extremely difficult.

Potential Conflicts

Many individuals fail to share their estate planning decisions with their families for fear of causing family conflict. Issues related to the fairness of the distribution and perceived biases toward one beneficiary over another are frequent concerns. An individual’s desire to distribute their assets in a fair way does not always result in an equal distribution, which can be difficult for some families to understand.

Need for Open Communication

Open communication between family members prior to an individual’s death is an important part of navigating difficult family dynamics. Once an estate plan is created, having a dialogue with family members about its content should be the next step.

Estate planning often includes directives regarding the distribution of a person’s assets and directions related to the individual’s final wishes for the disposition of their body after death. For many families, this can be one of the most contentious issues, especially if the deceased individual did not share their wishes before their death.

Anticipating Feuding Family Members

In many cases, individuals can anticipate a feud between family members. When past family dynamics indicate the distribution of assets will cause strife among the family, individuals can take certain steps to ensure their final wishes are honored and their families are protected.

Taking steps to avoid probate is particularly important when privacy concerns exist. Many individuals want to protect their feuding family from public scrutiny. Probate proceedings become part of a public record resulting in an unintended airing of the family’s dirty laundry.

Importance of Estate Planning

Even in the most contentious of family situations, having an estate plan is a much better alternative than having no plan at all. In a recent survey of estate planning professionals, failing to create an estate plan is listed as one of the biggest mistakes a family can make when dealing with the death of a loved one. Knowing the deceased individual’s intentions as expressed through an estate plan is crucial in moving forward during this difficult time. Communicating one’s wishes for their estate after death is not enough without the legal documents to ensure these wishes are carried through. Drafting an enforceable will and estate plan with the help of an experienced lawyer is the best way to help families deal with the death of a loved one.

West Chester Wills and Estates Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Assist Individuals and Their Families with Estate Planning Needs

At Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C., our experienced West Chester wills and estates lawyers assist individuals and their families with a wide range of estate planning needs. Our offices are conveniently located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania to serve clients throughout Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County. To schedule an initial consultation today, call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online.

A Message to Our Customers About Coronavirus COVID-19:
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A Message to Our Clients About Coronavirus COVID-19:

We want to assure everyone that during this unprecedented and difficult time, we are still operating and will continue to meet all the legal needs of the residents of the Delaware Valley. While the Governor’s recent orders have restricted the operations of some businesses, Eckell Sparks has deployed a variety of applications and hardware that allows both our attorneys and our support staff to confer with clients remotely, provide consultations to those seeking legal advice, and continue to provide the high level of legal services to our clients as we have always done. For more than 50 years, our Firm has been a force in the Delaware Valley legal community. And by now also leveraging technology, we will continue to do so both during, and after, the current public health emergency.

So, if you need us, we are here. Are you an employer and don’t know what to do under all the new Corona-virus laws being passed in Washington? Were you injured in a car accident either before, or during, the current crisis? Call or email us. We can help. www.eckellsparks.com 610-565-3700.

Stay safe out there.