A Will or Trust is a way to transfer property or assets after a person’s death. The people or organizations who stand to inherit these things are called beneficiaries. A Will can be as simple as saying, “I wish for Person A to inherit my entire estate.” However, complications can arise when selecting beneficiaries.
If a court invalidates a Will, complex intestate laws may take effect. Additionally, people seeking inheritance may attempt to press their legal rights if the Will does not mention them by name. As such, it is important to work seek legal guidance on effective beneficiary designations in Raleigh estate planning. A knowledgeable attorney could help ensure that your property ends up in the correct hands in the future.
In simple terms, a beneficiary is any person or organization that obtains a person’s property or assets after they die. Usually, a person will name these beneficiaries in a Will or other testamentary document. As long as a court validates the Will, a beneficiary should be able to inherit the property without any further requirements. However, the Will itself may specify certain tasks that a person must complete first, such as graduating from college.
There is no law in Raleigh that describes who may be a beneficiary. The law presumes that a named beneficiary can take control over whatever property or asset the testator nominates. However, the inheritance of children under the age of 18 might go into a Trust until they reach adulthood.
Experienced local attorneys typically recommend that a testator separate their beneficiaries into categories. Creating a hierarchy of inheritance is crucial to effective Will formation.
Primary beneficiaries will have the first chance to inherit property. However, in case these people predecease the Will writer, it may be wise to nominate secondary beneficiaries as well. Rather than having the property go to the primary beneficiary’s estate, this allows the secondary nominees to gain control of assets if the primary beneficiary is unable to inherit.
North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 29 outlines the rules for which parties will inherit a person’s estate if they die without a valid Will. For this reason, parties who may not stand to inherit property might try to argue that a Will is invalid.
Accordingly, it is essential for a testator to state if they do not want a specific party to receive property after their death. For example, a person may want a particular child to inherit a home, departing from the intestate rules that give each child an equal share.
A well-practiced lawyer could help a person go over their specific wishes for various types of inheritance, such as bank accounts or control over a family business. In general, it is best to be as specific as possible when granting property rights and disinheriting certain parties in a Will.
Choosing the people or organizations that you want to inherit your property is a central part of constructing a Will. Working with a skilled attorney can help create a document that is valid and enforceable after your death.
There are several recommended steps when making beneficiary designations in Raleigh estate planning. Always describe your beneficiaries as precisely as possible and refer to people by name. Establish alternative beneficiaries, and if you want to disinherit a party, state so clearly and unequivocally in your Will. For more information on ensuring that your property is distributed according to your wishes, call our legal team today.