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Being transparent with estate planning saves families

Countless Tennessee residents never take the time to create an estate plan, and it leaves their family in chaos after they're gone as potential heirs and relatives squabble over how the estate should be wrapped up and distributed. However, of the more responsible Tennessee residents who finalize their estate plans, it's surprising how many fail to take one vital step that can help ensure the peace and sanctity of their families after they're gone. This vital step involves being transparent with their plans.

The more transparent an estate planner is with his or her wills, trusts and other decisions -- particularly with regard to asset distribution -- the more likely his or her family will maintain good and loving relationships after the person passes away. The fact is, no matter what we might assume, our family members have ideas about what they're going to receive from us when we pass away. If these ideas are different from the actual plans we've set in place, it can create resentment, jealousy and feelings of unfairness. It can even cause some family members to distrust a will and suspect that it was not what their loved one actually intended.

The way to resolve this is to sit down with the family, discuss the plan for the will, talk about who will receive what and open the floor for debate. When family members are given the chance to air their preferences, they will feel better about the ultimate decision.

At the very least, even if one's family members don't agree with the final decisions made -- as long as they've been made aware -- they will usually respect what the person wished to have happen. This approach will ultimately help Tennessee families dramatically reduce the chances of family infighting and will contests after mom or dad passes away.

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