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Stephen Beroes, Elizabeth A. Beroes, Julie Elizabeth Beroes, Shanice Williams

What are reasons to change beneficiaries on a will?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2019 | Estate Planning

Just because you have completed a will does not mean you never have to revisit it. In fact, you might need to return to it several times over the course of your life to name new beneficiaries or remove old ones. There are many events that can radically change a person’s life, and it is important that your last will and testament be updated to reflect that. Otherwise, you might find yourself entangled in legal problems in Pittsburgh because of outdated beneficiary designations.

According to FindLaw, people update their wills to name new children or stepchildren as heirs. Generally, biological children are automatically considered by law to inherit from their parents, but unless you specify what your children receive in your will, there is no telling how a court may award your assets to them. Also, in many jurisdictions a stepchild is not granted an automatic share of a stepparent’s inheritance. So if you wish a stepchild to inherit from you, you should name that stepchild as an heir in your will.

Another issue that people deal with is divorce. You might have left assets to your now former spouse in your will. If you want that to change, you need to remove that provision from your will. Otherwise, upon your passing your ex-spouse will likely receive an inheritance even though you divorced. Similarly, if you want to leave an unmarried partner an inheritance, spell that provision out in your will, since an unmarried partner might not be considered by law for an automatic inheritance.

Some people, whether they have children or not, may want to designate another heir that is not part of the immediate family. Perhaps the testor owns a business and has someone in mind to take it over when the testor passes. On the other hand, a testor may no longer want a designated heir to receive an inheritance, in which case the heir should be removed from the will.

Because issues concerning estate planning can vary from person to person, you should not consider this article as offering legal counsel. It is intended for informative purposes only.