Better Safe Than Sorry, Especially When Dealing With Family

August 3, 2015 - Posted by: admin - In category:

taxes - No Responses

Relying on family or friends to “do the right thing” is NOT a wise approach to planning.

Last time we discussed the concept that few of us are as angelic as our parents believe and there are elements of both angel and devil in all of us (depending on the day and circumstance).  We also noted that disagreements and/or fights among family members are common after the death of one or both parents and this is true even in Utah and even among members of the Mormon Church. In short, people are people regardless of where they live and what church they attend. Because of this propensity for problems, we suggested last time a few bullet guidelines to consider when doing your estate plan, particularly in the context of family members and others near to your heart. The first bullet, which we will discuss a little more in detail now, is to assume the worst and plan and protect against the same.

At first glance, some may feel that this idea of planning for the worst is unkind or otherwise inappropriate when it comes to those you love, especially your children. But remember that we are not actually hoping for the worst to happen. Rather, we are taking the safest approach and doing what we can to protect against the very worst possible scenario. Put another way, rather than expecting your child to do something mean or nasty, let’s assume instead that the spouse of your child might try something…:) Regardless of the details, the stories of problems among children and between siblings following the deaths of parents are so prevalent that it is unwise to assume that your family will be immune to the same. And if there is a chance that something bad could happen, it makes good sense to implement a series of protections that will ensure that such things won’t happen.

Think of it in the context of protecting your baby (perhaps long ago for some of us). Especially with the first child, most parents are rather paranoid with regard to risks to that child and such parents will often do all possible to remove potential hazards from the path and reach of a baby. Such parents firmly believe that it is NOT worth taking the risk that harm could come to the young child, so watchful parents work and worry and stress to do all possible to keep that child safe from hazards seen and unseen. In many respects, this same extreme caution is useful in the context of formulating an estate plan that will benefit and protect such child and other loved ones in the future.

How exactly do you protect against such things? The answer is very fact specific, but the common theme is to utilize a series of checks and balances, along with the input of one or more neutral parties, so as to ensure that decision-making authority is protected and the overall plan is structured in a way to best ensure that objective and fair results will occur. We will focus more on this subject next time.

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