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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Monday, June 18, 2012

Do Your Beneficiary Designations Match Your Will?

Most people don't realize that beneficiary designations indicated on any type of financial account, bank or brokerage accounts for example, supersede the instructions given in a will.  Yes, that's right.  Your beneficiary designations, if contradictory to your last will and testament override your will.  This is a mistake we see time and time again, and its one of our focuses as a law firm, to make sure all designations match your will so that all your intentions are met.

This means that your ex-wife could get your inheritance if she remains the designated beneficiary, even after you update your will.  Or it could mean you end up leaving your kids large sums of money at a very young age.  A lot of time and effort goes into planning your will so that your wealth is passed along as you please and beneficiary designations can easily destroy all of that.

Double check that your beneficiaries on all accounts match what you truly desire.  And whenever there is a significant change in your life, for example a birth or a marriage, review your beneficiary designations and your estate plan to ensure that the people you have named are the ones you would like to inherit your assets.

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