Are you a Pennsylvania resident? Do you know whether or not your will controls or the beneficiary designation for your life insurance, annuities, and other non probate assets controls who gets those assets?
I recently ran across this great little article on the important question of which controls – The will or the named beneficiary designation?
This particlular article is based on UTAH law but the question (and the answer) is pretty much the same under Pennsylvania law. In almost every case, the beneficiary designation on life isnurance, retirment plans, and bank and stock accounts will control. So if you have changed your will, it is also essential to make sure that your beenficiary designations are coordinated with your estate planning.
One of the most common estate planning mistakes is the failure to coordinate what the will says with how the assets are actually owned and with the beneficiary designations.
The take away? Make sure that your estate planning attorney helps you to coordinate the beneficiary designations with your documents. Make sure to ask if your tax payment clause under your will is appropriate given the way you hold and dispose of non probate assets through such beneficiary selection.
David M. Frees III Esquire
David M. Frees Chairs the Trust, Estate and Wealth Preservation Section of
Unruh, Turner, Burke and Frees
David Frees has been selected as “the Best” Trust and Estate Lawyer on the Main Line according to Main Line Today Magazine.