Navigating family dynamics is more difficult than deciding on the factual details of an estate plan, according to the majority of advisors in a recent survey conducted by Key Private Bank, the wealth management arm of KeyCorp.

Seventy-seven percent of the 130 Key Private Bank client-facing advisors included in the survey said the hardest part of estate planning is sorting out the family relationships and emotions.

But the issues have to be dealt with nonetheless.

Forty-three percent of the advisors said the biggest mistake a family can make is having no plan at all.

The survey asked the advisors about their experiences in dealing the clients with at least $2 million in investable assets.

Another mistake clients often make is thinking they are too young to need to think about estate plans. Half of the advisors said even young clients need to be prompted to start thinking about estate planning. Clients as young as 30 or 40 years of age should start planning, they said.

Once a plan is in place, clients need to be nudged to update it frequently, said 35% of the advisors. Clients also need to be reminded that a will does not cover the distribution of all their assets.

Although it is sometimes the clients who bring up the subject of estate planning, one quarter of the advisors said the subject only came up after clients had a life-altering experience or event.

The poll revealed that 66% of the advisors find themselves initiating the estate planning conversation, which “highlights a need for more proactive family financial discussions and the critical role that advisors play in moderating these conversations,” the report said.

“Some clients may be hesitant to have a conversation about estate planning with their family members because they fear that sharing their wishes will cause conflict,” said Andrea M. Griffiths, national manager of trust settlement administration at Key Private Bank. “In designing an estate plan, clients must sort through a number of emotional and psychological issues, ranging from treatment of children—where what’s fair is not always what’s equal—to the beneficiaries’ perception of their relationship with the grantor, as well as their behaviors and potential biases toward other beneficiaries.”

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