Wanting to get your affairs in order with an estate plan can have numerous uses. You could have the ability to lessen the hardships your family could face when it comes time to administer your estate, and you could ensure that your surviving loved ones handle certain matters in a particular way. You can even ensure that specific assets go to the people you want to receive them.

Though Pennsylvania has laws that dictate how to divide assets after a person’s passing, you can circumvent these laws by naming beneficiaries in your estate plan. You may think that making a blanket statement indicating that your children should divide your estate equally or some other indicator will be enough, but you may want to more thoroughly consider the benefits of naming specific beneficiaries.

Who gets what?

When it comes to naming beneficiaries, you may have many reasons to do so. You could have life insurance policies or retirement accounts that allow you to specifically name a person to receive those assets almost immediately after your passing. The first person you want to receive a particular asset is known as the primary beneficiary. This person will obtain the assets as long as no extenuating circumstances prevent that person from acquiring them.

Of course, even if you do take the time to name a primary beneficiary, that person could pass before you or otherwise not be able to claim the assets. If so, you may want to ensure that you have contingent beneficiaries named. These beneficiaries are essentially next in line to receive a specific asset if the primary beneficiary cannot.

Why appoint specific people?

Bequeathing specific assets to specific beneficiaries could lessen the chances of your loved ones fighting over those assets. Additionally, the entire probate process could move forward more quickly if everyone knows to whom the assets should go. As a result, less time and money will have to go into settling your estate.

Understandably, it may seem tricky to name specific beneficiaries for certain assets, but it may give you the opportunity to really consider to whom you want your assets to go. You may even have the chance to share special memories with your loved ones if you want to explain why you want a person to have a particular item. Of course, it is important that you complete your beneficiary designations correctly, so you may want to go over your choices with an estate planning attorney.