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SMART MONEY, A COLUMN BY BRUCE WILLIAMS

Replacing will's recipient shouldn't be difficult

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 12:01 am

Q.: My 90-year-old mom (I am 60) died recently. She was the recipient in my will, and for other beneficiary requirements. My brother was/is second but has actively estranged himself, so I want to take him off. I have been struggling with whom to add as a replacement. There are no other immediate family members, so my choices seem to be limited to friends and charitable organizations. Meanwhile, if I die, my brother will get everything. What do I need to know financially before making decisions to prepare for my own expenses and any potential expenses to the chosen recipient? Do they even have a choice if I choose them? For some reason, it does not seem as easy as just putting the name on and letting the chips fall when I die. Am I making too much of this? — S.G., via email

A.: Yes, I think you're making too much of this. If you want to take your brother off the will, then take him off. As far as struggling with a replacement, name anyone you wish. Financially, what you need to know is that your will is going to say that any expenses you leave behind are to be paid out of the estate, which is normal and ordinary.

Send questions to bruce@brucewilliams.com or to Smart Money, PO Box 7150, Hudson, FL 34674. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.