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Estate Planning 101

Mark Rosenberg

July 29, 2016

First off, everyone needs a will. If you want to control who will inherit your assets, you need a will and possibly a revocable living trust. Without at least a will in place, the laws of your state will dictate who will inherit those assets that are not transferred by other means, such as beneficiary designations.

Beneficiary designations trump a will. The people you name as beneficiaries on your financial and retirement accounts will generally inherit the assets in those accounts regardless of instructions to the contrary in your will or other estate planning documents. For this reason, it is important to review your beneficiary designations at least once a year and when major events occur in your life (for example, marriages, divorces, and deaths) to help ensure that your beneficiary designations reflect your current wishes on who should inherit those assets.

Your estate planning documents may need to be updated if you move to a new state. The laws governing estates differ from state to state so it is a good idea to have an attorney in your new state review your estate planning documents.

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