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Another step to make estate administration easier on family

Even when a Georgia resident is well-known by his or her family members, understanding the thinking behind certain decisions may not be easy. Wills are designed to pass on assets, reduce taxes and achieve other wishes of the testator. However, family members often need more guidance in order to get through estate administration.

A will can handle the legalities of death, but it may not contain further instructions that could make carrying out those wishes less confusing and complex. A will could reference a letter expressing other, additional last wishes that family members can use as an instruction sheet. Those Georgia residents who include a "letter of final wishes" can make arrangements for their funerals, explain the contents of the will and provide for pets, among other things.

For instance, perhaps the testator wants to leave the bulk of his or her estate to one child because that child requires more financial assistance than another does. It might be helpful for the children to understand the reasoning behind certain bequests and other arrangements. Doing so could keep ill feelings at bay and help to avoid will contests from happening. Of course, there is no guarantee of this, but having the information "from the horse's mouth," so to speak, may smooth the process.

Estate administration can be challenging enough without gaps in information that could otherwise clear up any potential misunderstandings before they start. In addition, taking this one additional step could take some of the decision making process off family members' plates during an already difficult time. Providing as much information as possible can give family members the peace of mind that they will not have to struggle to make hard choices or difficult decisions without any guidance from the deceased.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning: Your Letter of Final Wishes", Rob Clarfeld, May 18, 2017

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