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Estate planning and administration: designating beneficiaries

It is unlikely that any two Illinois residents will have the exact same estate plans. This is because everyone's needs and goals are unique, and the estate planning and administration process is customizable. Choosing beneficiaries is an integral component of most people's estate planning processes.

A final will and testament is often executed as part of an estate plan. By naming an executor, an estate owner ensures that someone he or she trusts will carry out the terms of the will. When it comes to choosing beneficiaries, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

Depending on the mental and physical state of a beneficiary, an estate owner may need to also name a legal guardian if that person is a minor or incapable of caring for him or herself due to incapacitation. Most people choose spouses or other close family members as beneficiaries. It's important to keep in mind that someone named as a beneficiary may be deceased before the benefactor, which will have implications on the administration process. For instance, money left to an adult child would go to his or her children if he or she passes before the parent in question.

There may also be tax implications involved in an inheritance. An estate owner who wishes to help heirs and beneficiaries avoid probate will want to make sure the estate plan complies with state laws. Those with questions regarding the estate planning and administration process in Illinois as it applies to beneficiaries may request a consultation with someone well-versed on this legal topic. 

Source:, "Money Matters: Choosing beneficiaries of your life insurance", Michael Camacho, April 29, 2018

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