If you want to ensure that your wishes are honored and your money goes where you want it to go after you’re gone, it’s important to name a legal beneficiary. This is an essential part of estate planning, but many people are not sure how to properly choose someone to entrust with their assets, and for good reason. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, you may want to name multiple beneficiaries, in order to avoid overwhelming any one individual with a sudden windfall of money and responsibilities.
One of the main benefits to naming beneficiaries is the potential to bypass probate after you’ve passed on. If you have all of your affairs in order, and your legal documents are clear, your loved ones may be able to avoid the lengthy and complicated process of probate, where the courts examine your estate and distribute it piece by piece.
Obviously, one of the most important things in choosing your beneficiaries is the aspect of trust and goodwill. Generally, beneficiaries are family members or next of kin, but you can legally choose anyone you wish to handle your affairs after your passing. This should be a person who is mentally capable of making decisions, and someone that you know you can rely on to honor your legacy. Keep in mind, that if you name your spouse as your beneficiary, he or she may be able to obtain your assets, tax-free, depending on the laws in your area.
Another thing to check on is that all of your estate planning documents are consistent, and do not contradict each other. This is a great place to bring in a Greensboro estate planning attorney, to look over any existing documentation, and ensure that your named beneficiaries are the same on all forms.
You may want to consider starting a trust, especially if you have a large estate and multiple children or other dependents. This gives you the option of moving and controlling your assets while you are still alive, and set up a distribution plan for your finances later down the road. Granted, you will then have to choose a trustee or guardian of this fund, but it could save you many headaches in the end.
A final word of caution when choosing beneficiaries: try to avoid playing favorites or naming based on temporary circumstances. Sometimes, family members may attempt to win your favor, or you may have someone attempting to get on your good side for financial gain. Always consider talking with an experienced attorney or financial advisor before making your final beneficiary decisions.
Ready to finally get the peace of mind that you deserve, and put your beneficiaries in writing? Reach out to the law office of E.J. Boswell today and ask for your free consultation.