Poor (or no) estate planning can lead to catastrophic losses of family assets.
Check out the article by Claudia Buck in The Portland Press Herald with some sad stories of families who wasted lots of money due to poor estate planning. Some simple steps can avoid family fights and save legal fees. These include earmarking personal property; carefully choosing your executor and trustees; and carefully thinking through the provisions of any trust agreements. This particular article does not discuss federal and state death taxes, which are another important consideration. Failing to take these taxes into account in connection with an estate plan can result in staggering losses for many families.
Having basic estate planning documents in place will not provide a complete asset protection plan. Estate planning is, however, one of the important components of an overall plan to protect your assets.