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Monday, November 1, 2010

Executor dealing with beneficiary name change

Sometimes it's the little things that cause huge irritation, especially when those little things prevent you from getting on with important paperwork. One of those little things that bother executors who are trying to put together an application for probate is the matter of the names of beneficiaries.

Sometimes a woman in a Will is described by her maiden name, but by the time the Will is probated, she has married. Or sometimes it's the other way around and the beneficiary has divorced or remarried. Some hyphenate their names. What does an executor do when the Will calls someone by a name that no longer applies?

The answer is to use both and to link the two together. When preparing estate documents such as the application for probate, the executor would describe the person by the name they currently use, then add "in the Will called..." and add the name the Will used. For example, if Jesse Smith got married after her mother made a Will, she would now be known as Jesse Morgan, her married name. The executor would describe Jesse in the documentation as "Jesse Morgan, in the Will called Jesse Smith".

If the executor simply used the name "Jesse Morgan" without linking this name to the named beneficiary "Jesse Smith", it may look as if the executor made an error.

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