Effective estate planning involves many different elements. After identifying your assets and property, selecting the right beneficiaries to receive your inheritance is equally important. It is essential to understand how beneficiary designations can affect one’s estate and potentially disinherit others.
A dedicated estate planning attorney could help you select beneficiaries and draft documentation that leaves no doubt about your intentions. Clear beneficiary designations in Moorestown estate planning help ensure the smooth transfer of assets to those you want to protect.
Who Can Serve as a Beneficiary?
A beneficiary is any person who stands to inherit assets through a will or other testamentary document. Local laws provide little clarification as to who can and cannot serve as a beneficiary. Any party specifically named in a will, trust, or another testamentary document may take possession of the property at the appropriate time. For the most part, any person can be a beneficiary regardless of age or citizenship status. However, there are some caveats. For instance, if a beneficiary is under the age of 18 at the time of transfer, that property must flow into a trust for holding purposes until the beneficiary reaches adulthood.
It is also important to consider what happens to property or an asset if a beneficiary is unable to inherit it. This situation often arises when a beneficiary passes away before the creator of the estate plan. It can be helpful to name a secondary beneficiary to plan for these complicated cases. These heirs will receive the property if a primary beneficiary is unable to collect it. A knowledgeable Moorestown attorney could help designate beneficiaries to keep an estate plan on track.
Naming Beneficiaries Avoids Intestate Inheritance Laws
Wills and other testamentary documents are a way to provide property to heirs at a designated time. These documents are also important because they help circumvent the state’s laws concerning an intestate death. A party dies intestate when they do not have an estate plan. If this situation arises, state intestate inheritance law guides a probate court on what parties stand to inherit the decedent’s property. This process includes inheritance passing to the following:
- The decedent’s descendants, by representation
- If there are no surviving descendants, the decedent’s parents
- If there are no surviving descendants or parents, the decedent’s parents’ descendants
Having a valid will or other testamentary document is one way to ensure that specific beneficiaries receive the intended assets. Even with an existing estate plan, life events may spur a need or desire to update these beneficiaries or the assets they receive. If an individual in Moorestown needs help authoring testamentary documents and designating beneficiaries according to state law, they should discuss their case with one of our dedicated lawyers.
Let an Attorney Assist You with Beneficiary Designations in Moorestown Estate Planning
Having a comprehensive and effective estate plan requires you to designate beneficiaries. These people stand to inherit when a will or trust comes into effect. Almost any person can be a beneficiary, but specific circumstances may pose challenges to someone’s ability to inherit.
A hardworking lawyer could help you select beneficiaries, understand inheritance laws, and draft documents that clearly state the intended heirs of your assets. Reach out to our legal team today to discover more about beneficiary designations in Moorestown estate planning.