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Updating an estate plan? Don't forget about beneficiaries

Kent area residents who have an estate plan may think that they are set. Creating an estate plan is a good step to ensure that a person's assets and wishes will be followed after their death. However, an estate plan should also be reviewed periodically to make sure everything is still accurate.

When reviewing an estate plan, checking out who the designated beneficiaries are is one of the most important steps. If beneficiaries are not reviewed periodically, several problems can ensue. Many times, the beneficiary named has passed away. For instance, people in their first jobs may name their parents as beneficiaries of a life insurance policy and, if the beneficiary isn't changed, the estate would need to go through probate. Also, many people have a family that has had multiple marriages, stepchildren, etc. A person can name one child as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, while a stepchild is named in the will. These inconsistencies can lead to a probate dispute. In addition, changes to beneficiaries should occur if a beneficiary dies, receives public assistance, a divorce occurs, or a beneficiary has a serious medical diagnosis.

An estate plan is a way to make sure a person's hard-earned assets are passed to the people for whom they are intended. An estate plan also allows a person to designate people to make medical and important financial decisions in the event they become incapacitated, as well as designate a guardian for their children. Having an estate plan is a gift for families because they do not need to try and figure out what their loved one would have wanted.

A legal professional who specializes in estate planning can help a family create an initial estate plan or edit one that is already in place. Having an up-to-date estate plan can help a person feel secure in knowing their wishes will be followed upon their incapacitation or death.

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