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Side-stepping some common estate planning problems

People thinking about writing a will or any other estate documents will want to make sure everything is in order for their heirs. Estate planning in Massachusetts should be comprehensive. In other words, an estate plan needs to ensure they have all the documents they need and that everything is properly documented for beneficiaries. There are common problems heirs may have with estates, but there are also ways a testator can bypass those problems for beneficiaries.

Having estate planning documents in order is of no use if no one knows where to find them. Testators need to make sure their heirs know where the documents can be located. The second issue is regarding a will that doesn't give enough information. The more detailed these documents are, the better, and estate planning documents must be updated as life circumstances change. There could be big problems for loved ones if the will on hand does not match the intended beneficiaries. 

Another common faux pas is naming the estate as a beneficiary rather than an individual to whom assets can pass without having to go through probate. If the entire estate has been named beneficiary, creditors will be paid, and what is left over will go to other heirs. Any person other than a spouse who is named as the beneficiary of an IRA or a 401(k) may face paying monumental taxes, so it's wiser for them to take the money over the long haul as required minimum distributions (RMDs).

There are other issues that could affect estate planning. A Massachusetts lawyer experienced in this facet of the law may be able to answer questions on how a testator can write an estate plan that is best for his or her heirs. People want to leave as much as possible to their loved ones.

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