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How to select beneficiaries while estate planning

One of the primary purposes of an estate plan is to create a body of documents and vehicles to smoothly transfer wealth from one party to others after death. The concept is a simple one, but the construction of an estate planning package can be complex. One of the first and foremost matters that must be handled by New Jersey clients involves selecting one's beneficiaries.

Choosing who will inherit one's wealth can be a difficult decision. For parents, the matter is rarely cut-and-dried. Some parents wish that their wealth be divided evenly between all of their surviving children. Even this approach involves complex decision-making, however, as not all assets hold the same type and volume of wealth. For example, a piece of real estate is valued quite differently than a life insurance policy, and is far less liquid an asset; in order to maintain parity, it is necessary to think about which blend of assets most closely meet that goal.

Other parents wish to provide more of an inheritance to those children who are perceived to have a greater level of need than others within the family. Here again, it is necessary to think about which assets are best suited for that outcome. It may make little sense to pass down a home to a child who has not yet exhibited the responsibility required to maintain that property.

Many in New Jersey will have no difficulty in creating a list of desired beneficiaries. It may be challenging, however, to determine which assets should be passed to each party. One of the best ways to create a package that meets one's goals and preserves the greatest amount of wealth is to work with an attorney who focuses his or her practice on estate planning.  

Source: valuewalk.com, "Plan For Tomorrow Through Proper Estate Planning Today", Dec. 25, 2015

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