hydrating beans

I have never cooked dried beans, but want to make a pot of ham and beans over the week end. Can you soak beans too long? Everything I read says to hydrate them overnight, But, If you aren't going to cook until he next evening, do you continue to soak them? Or, is "overnight" just short hand for soak about 8 hours? Can't I just put the beans in water in the morning and about 8 hours later, cook dinner? Thanks for your help.

 
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