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Wills and their beneficiaries

Making an estate plan or writing a will can be difficult or confusing for many people. However, few people wonder what they should do when named as a beneficiary. People across the nation are bequeathed money or other assets through wills every day. In some cases, as some Massachusetts residents know, beneficiaries may not be expecting to receive anything from the deceased, and they may be unsure of what to do when they are named in a will.

Speaking with the executor can help those in these situations. The executor should be able to tell the beneficiary if the settlement will be discussed and what steps may need to be taken to receive what has been given to him or her. This may also help the beneficiary to determine if he or she needs to consult with an attorney. While the help of an attorney isn't usually required, there are certain circumstances where consulting with one could be helpful. These situations might include when an individual has a reason to claim ownership to an estate or other assets. 

If the beneficiary has received cash, then he or she will need to find out if or how that money is taxed. For example, an inheritance is not normally taxed when it is given, but if the money is put into a savings account, then the interest accrued is taxed later. Knowing how the money given to them will be used may also help beneficiaries. Some might choose to save the money, and others may choose to use that money to pay off debts.

Many people are unsure how to proceed after being named in a will. Experienced estate planning attorneys would be able to help answer some of these questions while helping their clients to create wills of their own. Massachusetts residents seeking to create a will or alter an existing will, as well as those needing advice about what to do if they have been named in another person's will, could benefit from speaking with a local attorney. 

Source: marketwatch.com, "Found money: 5 things to do if someone leaves you money in their will", Dori Zinn, May 11, 2018

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