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Inheritance planning: Important to communicate with family now

More and more American baby boomers are reaching retirement age and planning their estates. Remarkably, it's been estimated that in the next 35 years, $30 trillion will change hands in the biggest transfer of wealth in the nation's history. However, according to a recent survey of wealthy Americans, 43 percent of respondents said they didn't feel that inheritance planning was a pressing issue.

The reality is that you can never begin estate planning too early, and not covering your bases now could lead to lost assets and disputes among family members. Creating a comprehensive estate plan can give you peace of mind and help everyone involved make well-informed decisions for the future.

A common dilemma that people run into is the question of when and how to discuss estate plans with family members. For many people, it helps to have a number of preliminary conversations regarding family values before having a discussion about assets and how they should be distributed. If you own a business, then you'll probably want to talk with your family members to gauge their interest in keeping the business before you create documents to transfer those assets.

In addition to discussions with individuals, you may want to have a family get-together that involves both relaxation and conversation around asset distribution. End-of-life planning and distribution of family wealth can be difficult subjects, so it's understandable that so many people shy away from communicating with relatives about these issues. However, once you've talked with your family, gotten their feedback and made your wishes clear, you may find that your family is in a better position to communicate among themselves and solve problems for years to come.

Of course, in addition to communicating with family members, a comprehensive estate plan requires the proper documents. Wills, powers of attorney, health care directives, trusts -- these are all estate planning instruments that a comprehensive plan may include. With a view toward protecting your assets now and in the future, a Kentucky estate planning attorney can explain your full range of options and draft detailed documents that meet your specific needs.

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