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Offered by Dolan & Associates, P.C.

Have you ever heard of a situation where someone left a Will dividing their estate equally among their children but one of the children ended up with most of the assets?

How did it happen? The Will clearly said to divide the assets equally. Unfortunately, a Will only governs the assets that are captured by the Will. Assets that are in joint ownership with right of survivorship, or have a payable on death designation, or a benefi ciary designation payable to someone other than the deceased’s estate, bypass the instructions in the Will. Many people assume they know who the beneficiaries are on their insurance and accounts and don’t confirm who the beneficiaries are in writing. Quite often they are mistaken, and the family is shocked after death to learn that only one child is named as a beneficiary.

The problem also arises if you have minor children. Young parents will often put a Will in place which provides for a trust to take care of their minor children until they become adults. They then name their children as the beneficiaries of their accounts and life insurance should they both die. The result is that the Court must appoint a Conservator for the children because the assets bypassed the trust created by the Will and went directly to the children.

A key question is: Are your assets titled correctly so that your estate planning instructions will control where the assets end up?

This is one of many important considerations when planning your estate. If you would like additional information regarding how to develop an estate plan that works effectively for you and your family, please take advantage of one of our free educational workshops.

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Dolan & Associates