The following is an article from the December 2017 issue of "Get Your Ducks in a Row" Carolina Family Estate Planning's free newsletter. You can read the rest of the issue, as well as back issues of our newsletter online at or subscribe for free at

Good communication ensures a plan works as intended. As you gather around the table for the holidays, it may be a good time to consider discussing your estate plan with your family. For many, the holidays are the one time of year when relatives are all gathered together in the same place at the same time. While conversations about estate planning can be difficult, they don't have to be. We, at Carolina Family Estate Planning, want to help you navigate this conversation and address your plan with your family, sooner rather than later. 

I have written a new guide to help, “Here’s the Plan: How to Tell Loved Ones What You’d Like to Happen,” and we are giving a copy to everyone who attends one of our December seminars. (But you can download a copy right now. Please keep reading!) This booklet presents a step-by-step blueprint for explaining to the people who will carry your plan out for you how that plan is supposed to work. In it, we revisit the design decisions you may have made while planning and explore why you made the decisions you did.

If you or someone you know doesn’t have a plan yet, this booklet is still meant for you. 6 out of 10 Americans still don’t have a plan in place to safeguard their assets, themselves, and their loved ones. In this booklet, I discuss what estate planning tools are available and how these tools work together to protect your assets and loved ones. We want to get people thinking about what’s important to them and how to accomplish it. Most people who haven’t done their planning yet aren’t aware of what a well-designed plan can achieve. Among some of these strategies include how to safeguard assets from creditors and lawsuits; pass down assets in the most tax-efficient way possible; make sure an ex-spouse cannot disinherit adult children, and much more.

At our office, we see a broad spectrum of past planning and what it can do—and fail to do, if not done right. After seeing my fair share of families completely blindsided by the financial and emotional consequences resulting from a lack of planning and a lack of adequate communication, I decided to write this how-to guide for everyday families, to help them navigate these difficult conversations.  My goal is to open the lines of communication with your family this holiday season and determine what planning strategies might work best for all of you.

Please visit to get your copy of this booklet. We are also giving seminar attendees a copy of this booklet for free this December. See Page 3 of this newsletter for dates and times, or go to to register and receive more information.

I hope this resource helps start some valuable conversations with your family. And I wish you a joyful holiday season and a new year full of happiness and good health.


Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning
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