Wills and beneficiary changes

Ohio residents should keep in mind that it is necessary to update their wills as beneficiaries change. Beneficiaries may die or leave the family due to divorce, or new beneficiaries might be born. If a will is not updated, it could result in some people who the testator no longer wished to include as heirs inheriting property while others receive nothing.

When initially writing a will as well as when making changes to it, individuals should make an effort to identify beneficiaries as clearly as possible. This might include using the individual's full name and city and state of residence to eliminate any ambiguity.Certain relationships may be pretermitted in relationship to a will. This means that the individual may receive an inheritance even if they are not named in the will. If an individual marries or children are born after a will is written, the state of Ohio will generally include the child in the inheritance even if not named. Furthermore, in Ohio, a divorce is assumed to end a beneficiary relationship even if the individual does not update the will.

However, these should not be considered reasons to put off changing beneficiaries. While the state has ways to deal with ambiguities such as these in a will, if an individual is specific about their wishes, there is a better chance they will be carried out.

Testators should make a practice of reviewing their wills annually as well as when there is a major event in the family such as a birth or death. If a person wishes to disinherit a beneficiary who is a close relative such as a child, it is best to specifically mention that in the will so there is no confusion. An estate planning attorney may be helpful with respect to these changes.

Source: National Paralegal College , "Changes in Beneficiaries", November 17, 2014

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