VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Importance of contingent plans in estate planning

Florida residents who are preparing their estate plans may want to include contingencies in the event a designated beneficiary dies before they do. Doing so can help make certain that the assets will pass to the intended heirs.

In a trust or will, people can give beneficiaries the power to appoint their interest in the estate to another person if they happen to die. People may also include provisions that specifically say that if the beneficiary dies, the assets will instead pass to someone else instead.

If a power to appoint is not given to a beneficiary who then dies, their interest will pass according to the contingency plan contained in the estate planning documents. If the beneficiary outlives the person writing the will or establishing the trust, then the beneficiary will own the assets. This means they could then pass them to whomever they chose through their own will or trust. People who want to maintain some control over who will receive their assets may want to use these tools when planning their estates.

Determining the heirs and beneficiaries of assets is a central part of estate planning. People should think carefully about how they want their assets to pass and to whom. They should make certain to include contingent beneficiaries in the event a chosen one passes away. They may want to meet with an estate planning attorney for help in determining how to best meet their goals. In addition to tailoring documents to a client's particular set of circumstances, the attorney can conduct a periodic review of them and make updated when warranted.

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