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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Coordinating your beneficiaries with your estate plan, part 2

In our last post, we talked about the importance of making sure the beneficiary forms for your financial products align with your will. Even if you think you have carefully protected all of your loved ones by naming them in your will, if the individuals who are named as beneficiaries on your IRA or life insurance do not match that, you could unintentionally disinherit someone.

Our last post discussed some of the other downfalls associated with an uncoordinated estate plan and finances, and today we will spend more time talking about beneficiaries. Specifically, we will address who should and shouldn't be named as a beneficiary for a New Jersey estate, as well as what happens if you do not name a beneficiary.

When you are thinking about choosing a beneficiary, you have numerous options. You can name individuals or charities; you can have your funds placed in a trust or go back to your estate. You can even choose not to name anyone.

If you are interested in leaving your estate to your children, it is important to consider the most effective way to do that. Some parents might name alternate children as the beneficiaries on their accounts. Although that can seem logical (each child is named as the beneficiary on x number of accounts), it rarely works out evenly. In reality, one child typically ends up with more money than the other siblings. Plus, because the money is passed outside the estate, the other children may be able to do little to fix the situation.

Typically, if you decide not to name anyone as a beneficiary, your estate will be distributed according to your will. If that is your intention, it is important to discuss that will your attorney to help ensure everyone is on the same page with your estate planning goals.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Beware the Beneficiary Form," Carolyn T. Geer, 6 July 2011

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