How often may I change the beneficiary of my will or trust?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2020 | Estate Planning |

You may modify most estate planning documents as often as you wish until your death. If you need to make a change to your will, you may execute a codicil to name a new beneficiary or remove an existing one.

Major life events such as a marriage or divorce may motivate you to alter your beneficiaries. As reported by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, substance abuse or mental health issues may also cause a testator to change a beneficiary. If a current heir appears to run into problems with managing money, you may wish to consider creating a trust.

How may I disinherit a beneficiary without causing a dispute?

When you decide to change a will to remove an heir, you may wish to include an explanation for the modification. By providing logical reasons for the disinheritance, a removed beneficiary may not have sufficient legal grounds to contest your will.

Pennsylvania’s inheritance laws generally do not allow a testator to disinherit a spouse, as noted by SmartAsset. If you wish to leave specific assets to your stepchildren or grandchildren, you may need to include them in your will. An explanation may help avoid a legal challenge in the event you decide to disinherit your adult children and leave property to your grandchildren instead.

How may a trust help prevent issues between my beneficiaries?

Your will may provide instructions to transfer your assets and property to a trust after your death. You may name an individual as a trustee tasked with managing the assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. Your heirs may not challenge a trust, its contents or your instructions for its asset’s management absent a serious breach of duty by the trustee.

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