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By Jason Carrozza

Hi Everybody,

Happy Wednesday!!! I hope all of those that were celebrating enjoyed their holiday weekend. This weekend gives me hope that Spring is actually on the way!

After being with the family this week, it’s the perfect time to consider beneficiary designations.

  1. Beneficiaries of a Will must adhere to the probate process to receive their inheritance. Being a beneficiary under a traditional Last Will and Testament can take quite a bit of time and can be stressful. Consider setting up a trust in order to provide your beneficiaries with instant access to their inheritance.
  2. Never name your minor child on a beneficiary designation form. A family trust avoids the need for a conservator. Further, it allows a Trustee to manage and distribute assets for your children at appropriate ages and stages.
  3. Beneficiaries of life insurance or retirement policies receive their money outright. As long as your beneficiary designation is properly filled out probate can be avoided.
  4. Strategize before naming beneficiaries of your retirement plan. Naming a financially savvy beneficiary of your retirement benefits can allow your IRA to grow for a number of years tax-deferred. Educate your beneficiary about not immediately withdrawing retirement benefits.
  5. Consider the consequences of naming particular beneficiaries. Keep in mind the general demeanor or limitations of certain beneficiaries. For example, do not assume that if you name your eldest child they will freely share their new found inheritance with their siblings. It’s also important to be cautious of any drug, alcohol, or dependency issues. You always want to consider where your assets are going and how they will be handled once relinquished.

Deciding what goes to whom and in what manner can be a complex decision. Be sure to consider all of your options before filling out a form by default.

Until next time,

About the Author
Jason M. Carrozza is a partner and founder of Family Legal Partners, P.C., previously owning Carrozza Law Office, P.C., which focused on estate planning, probate administration, and business formation. He was recognized as a Massachusetts Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers and Boston Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016, an honor given to no more than 5% of attorneys in the state. Graduating magna cum laude from New England Law and ranked 3rd in his class, Jason completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He gained experience in civil litigation, divorce, corporate, and insurance defense law firms before opening his practice in 2004. Jason is admitted to practice before the Massachusetts Courts, is a trained family law mediator, and a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. He has volunteered for pro bono panels with Senior Partners For Justice, South Middlesex Legal Services, and the New Center for Legal Advocacy. Dedicated to his community, he has served in various leadership roles including vice president of the Bellingham Business Association and Master of Excelsior Lodge of Massachusetts Freemasons. He teaches Estate Planning Basics at the Tri County Continuing Adult Education program and speaks at estate planning seminars throughout the year. An avid baseball fan and history enthusiast, Jason enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Zachary and Madelyn.