On The Importance Of Designating Successor Beneficiaries
One way to get started on your estate plan is to convince yourself that you can set it and forget it. You can tell yourself that it only takes a few hours to write a will, but after you invest these few hours, you will save your family a lifetime of heartache. It is worthwhile to adopt this mindset because it makes the task of estate planning seem manageable. “I will write a will” is a much more specific and attainable goal than, “I will not leave behind any clutter or any ambiguities when I die.” Estate planning lawyers often advise seniors to revise their estate planning documents, if they have already written them, or at least review them with an attorney. If you are just getting started with your estate plan, you can avoid the need for revisions by designating successors in estate planning documents that assign assets or decision-making authority to particular individuals. For help drafting estate planning documents now that are unlikely to require revision later, contact a Tampa estate planning lawyer.
Your Estate Plan Needs a Backup Plan
Your most important estate planning documents indicate the people who will inherit your property when you die and the people who will have the right and the responsibility to make decisions on your behalf if you become too ill to make these decisions for yourself. If the designated person dies before you or is unable to fulfill the intended role because of a prolonged illness, then you are in for as much confusion and disagreement as if you had not written these documents at all. These are some examples of how indicating successors can make your estate plan much more airtight:
- For each of the beneficiaries of your will, indicate who will inherit that beneficiary’s share of the estate if the original beneficiary predeceases you. Your will should also list not only a personal representative but also a successor personal representative.
- If you establish a revocable trust, indicate a successor trustee in addition to the original trustee. Also indicate successor beneficiaries in addition to the original beneficiaries.
- Your medical advance directive should indicate the person you authorize to implement your written instructions about your healthcare and make decisions about your care if necessary. It should also indicate a successor who will fulfill these functions if the person you originally designated dies or becomes severely ill.
- Your springing power of attorney or durable power of attorney should indicate a successor agent in addition to the original agent.
- If you have listed a transfer on death beneficiary on your bank account, you should also list a successor beneficiary.
An estate planning lawyer can help you word these clauses in ways that will ensure that they are legally enforceable.
Contact David Toback About Choosing Beneficiaries and Successor Beneficiaries
A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you build a backup plan into your estate plan. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.