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Wills and naming beneficiaries

There are many people who have difficulties creating an estate plan. Some are unsure of what they wish to include in their wills, and others know what they wish to include but are unsure of how to do so. Naming beneficiaries can be especially confusing for some. However, there are some tips that Massachusetts residents may find helpful when naming or changing beneficiaries. 

First, a benefactor may find it helpful to go over his or her will after major life events such as a divorce, birth of a child or death of a family member. Even if no major life events have occurred, it could still be beneficial to review a will every few years. If beneficiaries are not kept up to date, then benefactors risk having their assets given to the wrong individual. This also means that the intended beneficiary may not receive anything. For example, an ex-spouse may receive the assets intended for the children from a later marriage. 

Many parents wish to name their children as beneficiaries, but they are unsure of what to do if the child has special needs or is under-aged. Some may choose to appoint a guardian or create a trust. Appointing a guardian would allow an adult to access the assets in the child's name, and creating a trust would be a way for benefactors to ensure that assets will be available when the child reaches a certain age. 

These, of course, are only a few tips that Massachusetts residents may wish to keep in mind when creating an estate plan. People who wish to discuss creating or updating existing wills could benefit from speaking with an attorney. A lawyer would be able to help his or her clients fully understand their options and how to most clearly convey their wishes to those that they leave behind. 

Source: wtop.com, "7 common mistakes to avoid when naming your beneficiaries", Nina Mitchell, Feb. 21, 2018

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