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Estate planning essential for smooth distribution of property

The death of a parent can be devastating for Ohio siblings. The trauma may get even worse if the siblings fight over how to divide their parent's estate. Parents, however, may be able to lessen the trauma by taking a few steps while they are alive.

According to 2013 data, American retirees are among the most generous in the world when measured by the amount of assets being passed on. Before deciding how to allocate the assets they leave behind, people should have a complete financial picture that reflects their most up-to-date net worth. A person's financial picture changes over the years. A spouse or child may die or new assets may be acquired. A person may wish to consult an adviser with assistance in putting a financial picture together.

After this picture is complete, then people can begin planning how to distribute assets upon their death. Dividing assets equally among children makes the process simpler, but sometimes a parent doesn't want to do this, perhaps if one child provided the most care for them in their senior years. Parents may want to inform their heirs of the will's contents, as this may cut down on family squabbles after their death.

Besides preparing a will, the estate planning process also includes picking an executor and setting up various powers of attorney. An estate planning attorney can often help with these matters. The larger the estate the more need there may be for legal assistance, but even people with few assets may benefit from the advice of counsel to make sure their wishes are carried out after their death.

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