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In uncertain economic times, it is more important than ever to design an estate plan that allows you to not only protect and build upon what you have, but to also keep others from fighting over assets after you’re gone. The fundamentals of creating a solid estate plan include:

Get help. Hiring a California estate planning attorney will ensure that your estate plan takes advantage of the ever-changing state and federal laws as well as reduces the potential for family feuds.

Select the appropriate executor and trustee. Family members do not always make the best executors or trustees. Be sure your choices are those who are both willing and able to carry out the duties of an executor or trustee fairly and properly; if you don’t know anyone who fits this description, you may want to consider a professional fiduciary to handle those duties.

Talk about your estate plan with family. While it may be difficult for you to discuss your estate plan with family members, informing them of the generalities and the reasons that guided your decisions can help stave off any family feuds.

Educate yourself on state laws. Estate laws vary by state, which is another good reason to have a California estate planning attorney to guide you. The California probate process can be lengthy and arduous; an estate planning attorney can help you and your family avoid probate, saving time and money.

Keep your estate plan updated. Many life circumstances – remarriage, divorce, new children – impact your estate plan, so be sure you review it annually and keep it updated when things change.

Title your assets correctly. Ensuring that all your assets are properly titled in a will or trust will help prevent legal challenges.

Build in some flexibility. As tempting as it may be to “manage from the grave,” it is often better to build some flexibility into your estate plan so that beneficiaries can have some say – for example, on the distribution of personal property.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.