2 ways to protect the continuity of your family after you're gone

The people who take the time to prepare their estates in ways to benefit their heirs and family members tend to be the glue that keeps their families together. Whether you're a matriarch, a patriarch or a loving sister or brother, you want what's best for the people you leave behind -- and you especially want to maintain good and loving relations with one another after you're gone.

Nevertheless, there is always the danger of family infighting and disagreement after the death of the "glue" that kept them together all these years. Here are two strategies that can help you reduce the potentially damaging effects on family relationships that your death could have:

Treat everyone as equally as possible in your will and estate plan: The way you distribute your assets to heirs and beneficiaries could have a big effect on the way your family members relate to one another after you've passed. What's most important is to invest a sense of equality into your estate distribution. This may not mean that you're giving each person the exact amount after you die. In some cases, when it's clearly just or fair, you may choose to give more to one person and less to another.

Explain the reasoning behind your estate planning choices while you're alive: Finally, it's important that your family members understand the reasons why you made your choices in your estate plan. When they understand your reasoning -- and it makes sense -- whether they like it or not, there's a much better chance they'll adhere to it.

If you want to structure your estate plan in a way that preserves the continuity of your family, explore the various options at your disposal and choose the estate planning methods that are most appropriate for your needs.

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