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Estate Planning and Contingencies: 3 Scenarios to Consider

You’ve worked hard for what you’ve got, and you don’t like the thought of your assets being distributed improperly. Your wishes are important, and you dread the thought of your family having to go through a hardship to receive what should be rightfully theirs. There are a few ways you can help fine-tune your estate planning to make it harder for unexpected situations to arise before and after your death.

1. Always Have Contingency Heirs

It’s important that you consider several worse-case scenario situations when crafting your wealth distribution. One such consideration should be an heir dying shortly after you. In this case, it is best to have a clause in your will that considers that that heir has predeceased you. You can set up subsequent heirs so your estate goes where you want it to go.

2. Take Simultaneous Death Into Account

Even though Massachusetts doesn’t allow joint wills, you have probably designated your spouse as the successor in interest to your estate. However, if both of you die in the same event, say a car accident, things can get a tad tricky as far as distribution. The big question that would be posed is, who died first and whose will be enacted as far as heirs? Since the order of death can’t be determined if it occurred in the same event, assets can be tied up for quite a bit of time. You should always have a successive death contingency in place.

3. Keep an Eye on Insurance Beneficiaries

It is a good idea to keep all beneficiary and contingent beneficiary information current. Insurance money passes to named beneficiaries automatically, and if one of them died years before, the money may stay with the insurance company. You paid good money for that policy, so be sure to keep it current.

Estate planning is never an easy undertaking. It’s a good idea to be specific and take every situation into account to keep your wishes upheld in every possible manner.

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