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Delaying estate planning could be costly for family members

How often do Delaware residents hear that they should "get their affairs in order" before it is too late? Even so, a large percentage of the population of the state -- and the country for that matter -- delays engaging in any estate planning. The reasons for this are numerous and vary from individual to individual, but failing to have some sort of estate plan in place often ends the same way -- with surviving family members potentially losing out on an inheritance because they end up spending valuable assets from the estate going through the courts.

Admittedly, it is not pleasant for most Delaware residents to contemplate their own death, but the desire to take care of family members thereafter requires it. Other people consider estate planning something that rich people do, and that they do not need it because they do not have significant wealth. For people with multiple children or blended families, the hesitation may come from trying to find a way to please everyone involved.

While all of these hurdles are valid, they require conquering in order to move forward. Without any estate planning, the state determines where assets go upon death, based on the laws of intestacy, and an individual may not agree with the end result. Most people have at least some idea of how they would want their assets to be distributed after they pass away, and the only way to have some guarantee that will happen is through estate planning.

Even though initial conversations regarding estate planning may be uncomfortable, having them is often the first step. Thereafter, it may be beneficial to seek out the advice and assistance of an attorney. He or she can review an individual's situation, make recommendations and then help with the documentation process.

Source: newschief.com, "Why do so many avoid estate planning?" Margaret R. McDowell, Nov. 8, 2017

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