The estate of most individuals is worth more than just money. A family business, a summer cabin on the lake or an antique car collection may be part of a legacy, rich with family history that you want to pass to your children and grandchildren.
The challenge is to develop a plan that meets your desire to pass along specific assets to certain individuals, while making sure each family member is treated fairly and equitably. Unfortunately, these assets may not be easily dividable, may have fluctuating values and lack liquidity, as well as potential tax liabilities.
The first step in deciding how the estate is to be distributed is to determine the estate value. This takes careful planning and open discussion with advisors. Make sure to include your accountant, lawyer, real estate advisor, business valuation expert and possibly an expert in collectibles valuation. Each asset should be carefully considered with respect to its value (monetary as well as emotional) and then start to develop your plan.