Wisconsin’s Gov. Walker is the nation’s first governor to survive a recall election despite the roars of union workers protesting at the Capitol. Voters apparently endorsed his business like approach requiring public employees to contribute more to their health insurance and pension benefits, like in the private sector. His plan erased a billion dollar budget deficit, reduced unemployment rate to below 7 percent, and prevented layoffs of policemen, firefighters, and teachers.

With our lackluster economy, investment uncertainty, and decreasing home values, the important question now becomes what is your strategy for protecting your family against financial distress and fragmented relationships? With a properly constructed estate plan, you can save your family tens of thousands of dollars, protect them from creditor claims, and undue taxes. However, this is not an easy task. Due to these hard times, there has been an increase in contested estates and heated disputes among heirs and beneficiaries.

There are some steps you can take to avoid family conflict and unnecessary probate litigation.

The pinnacle of a solid estate plan is to hire a good South Florida estate planning attorney. It’s important to select one that is highly qualified with the knowledge of Florida state laws and experience in this complex area of law.

Selecting the right personal representative to administer your estate and trustees to manage your trusts requires a well thought out plan. If you anticipate unavoidable family friction, it might be best to appoint a professional fiduciary such as a bank to manage your affairs.

Most people don’t think to sit down with family members to discuss their intentions and how they wish to bequeath their assets. However, clear and effective communication can help avoid unpleasant family disputes once you are gone. In addition, updating and confirming your estate plan over time will minimize challenges to your estate. Finally, always make sure your assets are clearly titled to avoid any confusion in the future.

If the family divide still cannot be mended, you can always try taking Walker’s advice and offer them some brats and beer.

If you have family, friends or even a charitable intent, the absence of an estate plan is inexcusable. For more information on successful Florida estate planning and probate techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or via email at info@wfplaw.com to schedule your free consultation.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?