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What to avoid when making beneficiary designations

Those who are going through the estate planning process in Florida should understand that a beneficiary designation trumps a will. Typically, retirement accounts are transferred through a beneficiary designation, and the same can happen with other assets as well. While it is relatively easy to create such a designation, it is also relatively easy to make an error while doing so. For instance, leaving an asset to a minor may not be the best idea.

This is because minors cannot control an asset on their own. Instead, an adult would need to be named to manage it until the child turned 18. Those who have special needs could lose access to government benefits if they are allowed to inherit an asset directly. Therefore, it may be best to put an item into a trust that will be overseen by whoever an individual trusts most to do so.

It is also critical to make sure that the name of the beneficiary matches the name of the person who is supposed to receive an asset. It is possible for a person to change his or her name after a marriage or for other reasons. If there are issues with the name on a form, an individual may not receive an asset or may need to go to court to claim it.

Ideally, an individual will have help when going through the estate planning process. This may come from an attorney, an accountant or anyone else who can provide the right guidance to those who need it. If an individual has already created an estate plan, it is a good idea to review it on a regular basis. This can help to ensure that a beneficiary designation or other documents are structured properly and reflect a person's true intentions.

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Kramer A. Litvak, P.A.
226 East Government Street
Pensacola, FL 32502

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