How Close is Your Family Tree?

Creating an estate plan is a very personal matter, and is usually done privately, with your attorney and with your partner, if you have one.  However, there are some circumstances under which estate planning should be a family affair—perhaps even a multigenerational one.

Sean Condon writes about when it might be appropriate to include the whole family in the estate planning process in his article Estate Planning Can Be A Multigenerational Matter.  Condon’s article mentions specific situations in which families would want to consider planning as a whole unit, including the following:

* Planning for succession within a family business.

* When multiple generations of families own property together.

* If the family is responsible for significant debt.

* If a family has a history of supporting certain charitable foundations and desires to continue doing so.

* To provide for family members who live out of the country.

* To make provisions for a non-traditional family situation, such as unmarried partners.

In many situations, you won’t have to choose between an estate plan that is private and one for your extended family.  There are many ways to create individual estate plans for each nuclear family while still respecting and arranging for matters that affect the extended family as a whole.  Of course, the process is easier if each nuclear family is able to work with the same attorney, but it is certainly not necessary as long as each attorney and family is willing to communicate and act together.

If you aren’t sure if you should plan privately for your family or include your whole multigenerational unit in the process, give our office a call.  We can help you look down the road ahead and create a plan of action that will make every member of your family feel secure.