Updated: Sep 21
A Quick Guide To Naming Beneficiaries In Long Beach, California
You have the freedom to give your assets or property to whomever you want. As long as you have a well-drafted will that's organized, clear, and specific, you won't have to worry about what happens after you pass. That said, you don't want to forget beneficiaries or make mistakes, either.
In this post, we'll talk about the beneficiaries you can list in your will, as often handled by one of our prescreened Long Beach Estate Planning Lawyers in California.
A beneficiary is a person or organization to whom you leave your assets. You can name any person, family member, friend, organization, or institution as a beneficiary. However, a person who serves as a witness to the signing of the Will is the only individual who cannot be named as a beneficiary.
1. Multiple Beneficiaries
If you have multiple children, siblings, or other beneficiaries, you should think about dividing your estate. Again, you need to be specific to who you want to get an inheritance, as well as be clear about how much each person is going to get.
If your Will names several beneficiaries, you must also specify how the assets will be split among them. The following are some examples of common distribution methods:
To transfer assets to beneficiaries fairly or equally
To unequally divide assets among beneficiaries (i.e., you might want to give 80% to someone and 20% to another)
To assign specific property to specific individuals
To assign a portion of your estate to be divided evenly among a group of people while also directing the remainder of your estate to be dispersed in specific amounts to other people or organizations.
To direct that all of your assets be liquidated and that the proceeds be distributed equally or unequally among beneficiaries.
It's a good idea to think about the assets you'll be gifting and how the distributions of those assets will play out if you're naming several beneficiaries.
Consider what would happen if you left a piece of real estate to numerous children, each with an equal stake. What if one of your children wants to sell the land while the other does not?
Similarly, if you leave heirlooms to numerous children to be divided equally, the children may be forced to sell the property to disperse the value equitably.
If you have any of these concerns, you should speak with a Long Beach Estate Administration Attorney who can assist you in thinking through these issues and crafting the most appropriate language for your situation.
2. Minor Children
You can name minor children (under the age of 18) as beneficiaries. However, those children will not get any assets you designate for them until they reach the age of 18.
The assets you leave to minor children must be placed in a Trust (which you can set up in your Will) and managed by the Trustee, who can be either the child(ren)'s:
Guardian of the Person
Guardian of the Estate
In this case, small children can benefit from Trust distributions while not having control over them.
There is a significant amount of planning and preparation needed for minor beneficiaries. To make sure you build a solid contract, consult with a Long Beach Estate Attorney to help you organize your will.
You cannot immediately leave assets to an animal. However, you could make a provision in your will to care for any pets you currently have. You'll need to name a caretaker for your pets to provide for their needs.
Any money you set aside for your pets will be handed to the caregiver and used for animal care. This can also be done by establishing a Trust solely for the purpose of providing funds to care for your pet/s after you pass away.
So, how about disinheritance?
If you decide not to give assets to a member of your family (particularly a child) who may have a legal claim to inherit your estate, you must declare this explicitly in your Will.
However, simply omitting a name from your Will or failing to list a name isn't enough. If you want to disinherit one of your children, you must explicitly declare that the child will not receive anything from your estate.
The most efficient way to disinherit a child is to recognize the child's existence in writing and then say that no preparations are being made for that child as a beneficiary.
Alternatively, some Long Beach Estate Administration Attorneys will advise leaving a small sum of money to the disinherited child to ensure that the child was not left out of the Will by mistake.
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