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Q&A: Why is it important to review the titling of my assets and my beneficiary designations?

Based upon the intent of your Will, all or a large portion of your estate assets may need to be available to fully fund a trust for your spouse (for estate tax savings) or provide for specific bequests. However, non-probate assets pass outside of your Will. Non-probate assets include assets held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, payable on death accounts, life insurance, and retirement plans. If you are relying on any of these assets to be available to fund a trust under your Will or to make a specific bequest, then accounts or real property should be held in your individual name, or with your spouse as community property or tenants in common. Moreover, depending on the directions given in your Will, beneficiary designations should name a particular trust itself or provide for a disclaimer into the trust. Make sure you review titling and designations as part of your estate plan review.

Kari A. Brotherton
Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
1201 3rd Avenue, Suite 3400, Seattle, WA 98101
[email protected]

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