Q: Does my mother need to specify beneficiaries on her accounts or is the Will sufficient to settle the estate?
My mother has no beneficiaries on her financial accounts. The Will states that she bequeaths $10,000 to each of her grandchildren. There are 4 (four) grandchildren; the remainder divided equally among her 3 (three) children. Therefore, very difficult to specify beneficiaries. The Will states that I am the trustee of the trust created by the Will for her grandchildren. There is no separate Trust agreement. Is it OK to leave the beneficiaries on her financial accounts blank and will the Will be accepted as a valid document by her financial institution to disseminate the funds? If not, what do I do? I am afraid if I do not address this, I will have issues settling her estate or face probate. My mother is located in Philadelphia.
A: it is difficult to answer a specific question like this without knowing all the facts, but in general if there are no beneficiaries on the accounts they will go into the estate and the will controls the distribution. you have a number of ideas including trusts for minors which suggest your family needs to meet with an attorney to review and probably draft a new will
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A: You should contact an Estate lawyer in your area immediately. Generally speaking, a will can and does distirbute probate assets - assets owned in the decedents name at the time of death. While you can put beneficiary designations on bank accounts, if there are not designations then the asset would likely be probate and governed by the will. there can be reasons to establish beneficiaries on accounts and times when doing so is detrimental. Consult with an attorney before making any decisions on your or your mother's estate planning.
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