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Colleen Sinclair Prosser, Attorney
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
SinclairProsser Law, LLC
. http://www.sinclairprosserlaw.com

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

When asked how people want their assets divided after they are gone, some people have definite opinions, while others are less certain. Not only do people differ in the level of their uncertainty concerning how to divvy up their assets, they even differ in what factors are important in making the decision.
In June 2007, Money magazine released a reader poll concerning various financial issues. The following percentages of respondents ranked each factor as very important
Dividing the estate equally among your children 69%
How responsible each child is about money 37%
How helpful each child has been to you 29%
How close you are to each child 22%
How much money each child has 22%
How many children of their own each child has 19%
How much you like each childs spouse 10%
37% said it can be reasonable to disinherit a child.
Another item of indecision for many people is the choice of decision makers trustee, personal representative, guardian, and agents under powers of attorney. For each of these positions, it is important to name people whose decision-making ability you trust. You may be tempted to name all your children or siblings to avoid hurting anyones feelings. However, naming a large number of people to serve together in the same role invites family disharmony and chaos. For example, if property in the trust is to be sold and you have seven trustees, many of whom may be out of town, it would be a logistical nightmare to route paperwork all around the country. Typically, things work more smoothly if you limit the number of people in any given role. Besides, having a job thrust upon them may be something many would just as soon avoid.
Regardless of what factors are important to you, a qualified estate planning attorney can help you achieve your goals. For example, if you are concerned about your childs ability to manage finances, the money can be left in a trust which will prevent him or her from accessing the funds without the permission of a person whom you designate, the trustee. If you do not like your childs spouse and are concerned he or she might divorce your child and take some of the inheritance you leave your child, you can leave your assets in a “divorce protection trust.” Such a trust keeps the assets separate from marital assets. Therefore, it minimizes the risk of the assets ending up in the hands of the childs future ex-spouse.
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you achieve your goals while paving the way for your familys continued success and harmony after you are gone.

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