But it shouldn’t be. Even a well-planned estate can collapse into confusion, family acrimony, and litigation if a few simple rules are followed. These are thing you can do now to make sure your estate plan will work out as you intended.

  1. Give them the heads-up. Most people, during their lives, don’t want to disclose the details of their planning to children and successor Trustees. But you should at least let the ones who will be in charge know a few things while you are still alive and well:
    1. Where are your important papers? The responsible persons should not have to go on a scavenger hunt looking for your estate plan, your financial papers, your check book, or the titles to vehicles and other assets.
    2. Advise the persons you have appointed 1) When he may be called upon to act, death or disability; 2) That he is not required to act. He can also resign after he begins to serve and; 3) In general terms he should know what his responsibilities will be if he is called upon to act.
  1. Don’t overlook tangible personal property: Tell your successor Trustees change the locks and video the contents. If something is missing accusations can fly as to who walked off with it.
  2. Funding: Keep your trust funded. “Funding” means re-titling your assets into your trust. Your Trustee cannot control assets that are not in the trust. This is critical to avoiding the dreaded probate.
  1. Do it now. Follow these rules NOW.

The bottom line is your heirs don’t want any surprises. When you are gone they want everything to go according to plan. The above rules are a big step in that direction.


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