A Guide To Beneficiaries In Estate Planning In California
A beneficiary is someone or something to whom you leave your property. A testator can name any person, family member, friend, organization, or institution. The only person who cannot be designated as a beneficiary is whoever serves as a witness to the signing of the Will.
So, who can you include as beneficiaries in your last will and testament? Here's a quick guide to choosing your beneficiaries, dividing your assets, and making plans for your estate.
When Leaving Your Assets To Multiple Beneficiaries
You should consider dividing your estate if you have several children, siblings, or other beneficiaries. But, again, you must be explicit about who you want to receive an inheritance from and how much each individual will receive. Any Burbank Estate Planning Attorney will tell you that the language and phrasing of any legal document are crucial. If your wording is vague, it might leave to Will challenges later.
If you identify many beneficiaries in your Will, you must also state how the assets will be distributed. Some examples of asset distribution methods are as follows:
Transferring assets to beneficiaries in a fair and equitable manner
Distributing assets unequally among beneficiaries (i.e., you might want to give 80 percent to someone and 20 percent to another)
To attribute unique characteristics to specific people
To direct a portion of your inheritance to be distributed evenly among a group of persons while the remainder is distributed in specific amounts to other people or organizations.
To order the liquidation of all of your assets and the distribution of the proceeds equally or unequally among beneficiaries.
If you're naming several beneficiaries, it's a good idea to think about the assets you'll be gifting and how the distributions of those assets will work out.
For example, consider what would happen if you bequeathed a piece of land to a group of children, each with an equal stake in it. If you leave multiple people assets to be divided evenly, the children may be required to sell the property in order to distribute the value equitably.
If you have any of these worries, you should consult a Long Burbank Estate Administration Lawyer who can help you sort through these legal and logistical issues and draft the most appropriate language for your situation.
When Leaving Assets To Children Below 18
Minor children (under the age of 18) can be named as beneficiaries. Those children, however, will not get any assets you designate for them until they turn 18.
Assets left to minor children must be placed in a Trust (which you can establish in your Will) and overseen by a Trustee, who can be either the child(ren)'s:
Guardian of the Person (Guardian of the Child)
Guardian of the Estate
Small children can benefit from Trust distributions while having no control over them in this situation.
For minor beneficiaries, a tremendous amount of planning and preparation is required. First, consult a Burbank Estate Attorney in California to help you organize your will so that you can draft a great Last Will and Testament.
Planning Care For Your Pets
You can't give an animal your assets right away. You might, however, make a provision in your will to care for any pets you have now. You'll need to appoint a caretaker to provide for your pets' needs.
Any money set aside for your pets will be given to the caregiver and utilized to care for the animals. This can also be accomplished by setting up a Trust exclusively to provide finances to care for your pet(s) after your death.
When Disinheriting Someone
If you don't want assets to go to a family member (especially a kid) who might have a legal claim to your inheritance, you must express this in your Will.
However, merely removing or neglecting to specify a name in your Will isn't enough. You must specifically announce that one of your children will not receive anything from your estate if you want to disinherit them.
Here are two ways to make the disinheritance clear:
The most effective way to disinherit a child is to acknowledge the child's existence in writing and then state that no plans are being made to make that child a beneficiary.
Another way to do so would be to leave a small amount of money for someone you want to disinherit. This ensures no one will suspect that you accidentally left them out of the will.
That said, to help you make your will and testament reflect what you truly intend, contact a Burbank Estate Attorney in California to help you. A lawyer will know the correct language and phrasing to ensure no one's confused about the division of inheritance.
Find A California Estate Lawyer in Burbank
You can contact us through our 24/7 live chat (or fulfill our case submission form) for a free initial consultation.