“When the topic of estate planning comes up, talk about taxes is soon to follow. That train is rarely late. Taxes are important, but they aren’t what keeps planners up at night in 2018.”
Estate planning attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, insurance advisors, elder law attorneys and nonprofit advisors, who recently attended a major conference on estate planning, were surveyed by TD Wealth. Their biggest worry for the success of client’s estate plans: family conflict.
An article from WealthManagement.com, “Family Conflict Tops the List of Estate Planning Challenges in 2018,” says 44% of all planning professions consider family conflict more of a threat to estate planning than tax reform (25%) and market volatility (12%). That is not a small number. It should be considered, while creating or revising an estate plan.
One reason for these results is that the response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has received mixed reactions from estate planning attorneys and financial professionals. Some believe it may help their clients, while about a third of those queried in the TD Wealth survey aren’t sure. Only 16% feel the tax reform will have a negative impact on their clients.
Almost 75% of those taking part in the survey felt that clients who do benefit, will do so because of wealth transfer tax changes. About a third expect that clients will see the biggest benefits from new estate tax laws, followed closely by generation-skipping tax and gift tax updates.
What is the biggest challenge that people face when addressing their estate plan, according to this survey? It is naming guardians for minor children and beneficiary designations.
Talking with family members about your estate plan and even bringing them to your estate planning attorney’s office for a family meeting, can be one way to head off potential conflicts. Your estate planning attorney can work with you to create a plan for discussing challenging topics. If all else fails, the attorney may be able to recommend a social worker who is familiar with family conflicts that arise during the estate planning process.
Reference: WealthManagement.com (March 28, 2018) “Family Conflict Tops the List of Estate Planning Challenges in 2018”
Suggested Key Terms: Family conflicts, estate planning, guardians, beneficiary designations, tax planning, wealth transfer taxes, generation skipping tax, gift tax