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- Consumers should be aware of what a will can and cannot do
- May 4th, 2010 10:10 AM
Americans know the basic purpose of a last will and testament, but what about the fine print? It is important to know what a will can transfer to beneficiaries and additional instructions it can legally dictate.
A will can pass property or assets to survivors other than those that would receive them under intestacy laws, reports the Boston Globe. An intestacy law refers to the legal beneficiary, such as a spouse or children, that would receive assets if a will were not in place. A will can also specify a guardian of minor children or a guardian/custodian to manage the assets of minor children, the Globe reports.
A will can also establish certain types of trusts for beneficiaries, but cannot release non-probate assets, which consist of life insurance policies, pension accounts, annuities and CD or money market accounts.
Americans that maintain probate assets, which are included in a will, and non-probate assets should carefully examine all documents to ensure everything is updated and in order. This is especially true for policies such as life insurance that cannot be relinquished to anyone other than the beneficiary listed on the policy, even if the policyholder’s will says otherwise.
This article was originally published by Life Quotes, Inc.
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