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Questions people should ask when making out their wills

Taking care of family is a goal of many Massachusetts residents. For many people, this includes wills, trust and other estate planning documents. Before any of these documents can be drafted, however, there are certain questions that will need to be answered.

The first thing to consider is which beneficiary will receive what assets. The simplest way to divide assets would be equally, but that does not always work for every family. In some cases, one beneficiary might need more assistance than another. In other families, an individual might have a favorite relative to whom he or she would prefer to leave everything.

Once these decisions are made, the individual will need to determine whether the recipient of certain assets would be better served inheriting them outright or through a trust. A trust would allow the individual to determine when and how much a certain beneficiary is to receive assets from the trust. Distributions could be made at certain ages or upon certain events such as a wedding or college graduation. The trust can also specify whether specific expenses can be paid from the assets between distributions. This could be useful for family members who are minors, have special needs or are just not adept at dealing with money.

Whether or not Massachusetts residents discuss the contents of their wills and other estate planning documents with family is a personal decision. However, many people choose to have this sometimes awkward conversation with their families ahead of time so that everyone understands why certain decisions were made. This could help avoid confrontations and ill-feelings when the time comes.

Source: valuewalk.com, "Plan For Tomorrow Through Proper Estate Planning Today", Dec. 25, 2015

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