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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > Simplify Your Estate Plan by Listing Successor Beneficiaries

Simplify Your Estate Plan by Listing Successor Beneficiaries


Every time you invest a few hours in drafting an estate planning document, you are saving your family many hours of work and large sums of money in the future, and you may even be preventing years of family enmity.  Of course, when you experience a major change in your family situation, it is important to update your estate plan.  Examples of family events that necessitate a review of your estate plan include your own marriage or divorce, the death of your spouse or one of your siblings, the birth, marriage, or divorce of one of your children, and the birth of your grandchildren.  Probate cases become much more complicated when they assign assets and responsibilities to people who are no longer around to receive their inheritance or fulfill their duties.  Therefore, a truly actionable estate plan is one that is up to date.  By including successor clauses in your estate planning documents, you can prevent them from becoming outdated.  For help building an estate plan that will not require extensive revisions in the future, contact a Bronx estate planning lawyer.

Outdated Estate Planning Documents Can Cause as Much Family Discord as Non-Existent Ones

Lack of planning is a main cause of discord regarding elder care and inheritance.  When someone dies without a will, the probate court simply follows the laws of intestate succession and distributes the estate to the decedent’s closest surviving relatives.  For everything else, lack of documentation can lead to disagreements and confusion.  Who should manage the finances of an elderly person who is in poor health?  Who decides when an elderly person should enter a nursing home, and which nursing home?  You can prevent these problems by signing a healthcare advance directive and a springing power of attorney.

Of course, what happens if it is impossible to follow the instructions in an estate planning document because doing so would require the participation of someone who has died?  In that case, you are in as bad a situation as if you had not written the estate document at all.  Therefore, you should list successors in your estate planning documents.  In your will, list a personal representative and a successor personal representative, who will take on the role if the original personal representative predeceases you.  If you have minor children, list a guardian and a successor guardian.  In a power of attorney document, list an agent and a successor agent.  The trust document of a revocable trust or testamentary trust should include a trustee and a successor trustee, as well as beneficiaries and successor beneficiaries.  By doing this, you save yourself the need to rewrite your estate planning documents every time a family member dies or a lawyer you have been working with retires.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Bronx Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning lawyer can help you plan for life changes without having to rewrite your whole estate plan.  Contact Cavallo & Cavallo in the Bronx, New York to set up a consultation.



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