Making estate planning decisions can sometimes bring up uncomfortable topics for clients, but Holly Thomas, the founder of Holly P. Thomas, LLC, in Tampa, Fla., said it's a vital part of any financial plan.

“I really emphasize estate planning up front,” Thomas said. “In my view it is the biggest risk to [a client’s] entire financial situation,” not only because of financial concerns such as potential tax issues but also because of the possibility of causing grief and hassle for the family after a death."

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