Estate Planning 101: A Guide to Picking Beneficiaries

Estate Planning and Choosing Beneficiaries Millman Law Group

It’s common for people to choose their heirs as a beneficiary when estate planning

Estate planning involves a lot of thought. One of the most complicated yet seemingly simple parts of estate planning is picking your beneficiaries. If you have many family members that you hold near and dear to your heart, you may feel like you don’t want to leave anyone out of your will. Also, you may like to donate money to a beloved charity or organization. It can be tricky deciding how to divvy up your assets, but this guide will provide you with some insight. Here are some core things that you should know about picking beneficiaries.

Who Can be a Beneficiary? 

Typically, a beneficiary can be whoever you want. After all, these are your assets and belongings, and you can choose how you want to distribute them before you pass. Also, the beneficiary is usually not the person who serves as a witness when you sign your will. Usually, the estate plan process goes more smoothly when your witnesses and beneficiaries are different people. 

Another thing to ponder is that if you choose your children as beneficiaries, you may want to consider giving them an equal share of the assets or noting what percentage each child gets not to complicate the process. You can name minor children as beneficiaries, but they won’t have access to the assets until they turn 18, or any age which you desire. Under these circumstances, if you want the child(ren) to have access after age 18, you can create ongoing trust shares to payout distributions to your underage beneficiaries

Also, what many people may not realize or forget is that an heir and beneficiary differ. An heir can serve as a beneficiary, but an heir serves as someone who is a relative. For example, an unmarried spouse is not an heir, but you can name them a beneficiary. You should note that your spouse and/or your children will hold the highest precedence of receiving your assets if you die intestate. 

Who Should be a Beneficiary?

The honest answer is that only you can answer this question. Many people choose a spouse or family members, but it all depends on who matters to you the most. You can distribute your assets in absolutes such as “I want my car to go to my sister.” or “I want my boat to go to my brother.” or once again, you can think about things in percentages. For example, you could say, “I want my spouse to have 75% and my son to have 25%.” The benefit of estate planning is that you are in control, and you should be versus a judge deciding these significant aspects in a long process called probate. You should designate a contingent or secondary beneficiary if your beneficiary, unfortunately, passes away. 

An Estate Plan Made Easy With Millman Law Group

Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.