Whether you live in Texas or New York, Alaska or Hawaii, planning for what happens to your assets after you’re gone is never an easy thing to do. No one wants to plan for that day or discuss what will happen upon their death or the death of a loved one. But estate planning is critical if you want things to go smoothly upon your death.

Experts say estate planning can be a difficult subject to discuss, but there are many reasons why it is a subject that simply needs to be considered. A recent news report detailed the story of a financial planner who found himself in a very difficult situation. A client of his had died and the adviser was left to divvy up the man’s estate between two ex-wives, one widow and four children. Each party believed they were not getting an equitable share of the man’s estate.

The difficult situation could have been avoided had the man done some estate planning ahead of time. Experts are no recommending families to counseling organizations in order rationally make future estate plans. They say it is absolutely key to discuss ahead of time with your loved ones how you intend to divide your estate upon your passing. That way, everyone knows what to expect after you are gone.

According to the Institute for Preparing Heirs, an organization that trains advisors, “70 percent of wealthy families fail to sustain their level of assets for two to three generations.” When estate planning involves multiple generations and a significant estate, the process can certainly be daunting. Throw into the mix blended families and a family-owned business and the waters can really get muddy.

Source: Reuters, “Your Practice: Tap shrinks, coaches to avoid estate battles,” Jessica Toonkel, Nov. 1, 2011