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How Should I Choose My Heirs and Beneficiaries?

 Posted on October 25, 2019 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyOne of the primary objectives of the estate planning process is to make sure that your wishes regarding your property and assets are followed in the event of your death. While the estate planning lawyers at our firm can help you draft the appropriate documents and make the process as easy as possible, there will still be many decisions that are yours to make. For example, it can be tough to choose which people in your life will receive a portion of your estate—and how much they should receive! As you think about those you would like to include in your will or estate planning trusts, you may wish to consider:

Choosing Multiple Heirs

You have every legal right to simply name your spouse—or another important person, such as your child—as your sole heir and beneficiary. Just because you have the right to do so, however, does not mean you should. The purpose of your estate plan is to set things up for the future, which cannot be predicted. Naming just one heir will prove all but useless if something were to happen to that person. Then, your assets would suddenly become dependent on that individual’s estate planning choices. If you select several heirs, however, or set up contingency beneficiary levels, you will be able to retain more control over how your estate is distributed.

The Dynamics of Your Family

It is not really fair that you should have to think about how your family members will react to your estate planning decisions, but the reality is that you probably consider it. It may be tempting to have an “It won’t be my problem” attitude, but your choices are likely to affect how your family gets along in your absence. In your estate plan, you have the chance to promote unity or leave the door open for contentiousness. While you cannot necessarily predict emotional reactions, you can eliminate possible loopholes by taking reasonable steps ahead of time.

For example, you might decide to leave most of your estate to your oldest son with the understanding that he will distribute your assets among your other children and grandchildren. In fact, you might have even had such a conversation with your son about it. An understanding, however—even one backed up by a direct discussion—is not the same as specifically naming other heirs. Unless you include such instructions in your estate plan, there is nothing legally stopping your son from keeping everything and refusing to distribute your assets in the way that you wanted.

Discuss Your Plans With a DuPage County Wills and Trusts Attorney

Choosing your heirs and beneficiaries can be difficult, but doing so is an important part of the estate planning process. Contact a skilled Lombard estate planning lawyer to discuss your unique situation and to explore your available options. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation with an experienced member of the team at A. Traub & Associates today.


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