To whom should I leave my property at my death?

Regardless of whether you have executed only a last will and testament or a revocable inter vivos trust (with a "pour over" will), the primary purposes of your estate plan are to provide for the management of your property during your lifetime, to identify those persons or institutions who are to receive your property upon your death, and to determine how the property is to be distributed. The beneficiaries who are to receive your property must be clearly and accurately identified. Disputes often arise after an individual dies because the identities of the beneficiaries who are to receive his or her property, or the terms and conditions under which those beneficiaries are to receive property are unclear and ambiguous. Therefore, you must use great care to clearly indicate who is to receive your property upon your death, and the manner in which s/he is to receive such property (i.e. outright or in trust). Also, you should always keep in mind that your expectations regarding the natural order of deaths may not, in fact, occur (i.e., sometimes children die before their parents, etc.). Therefore, you should address those unpleasant, but reasonably foreseeable events to minimize disputes after your death.


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