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Titling of Assets

It is very important that your assets be titled in a manner which is consistent with your overall estate plan.  Only assets titled in your own individual name will pass according to your will.

If you own any assets jointly with right of survivorship with anyone, those assets will pass to the joint owner at your death regardless of the terms of your will.  It is common for married couples to hold assets in joint names, but holding too many assets in joint ownership could defeat your intended estate plan and cause unnecessarily high estate taxes for your heirs.  It is often more beneficial for each spouse to own assets separately.

Also, if you have included a “pay on death” or “transfer on death” on your accounts, those accounts will pass to the individual names regardless of the terms of your will.  This type of titling bypasses your intended estate plan and is generally not recommended.

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