One of the vital parts of estate planning in Kernersville is the designation of beneficiaries. Deciding how you want to distribute your assets following your death requires more than just doling out items on a whim. There are important tax considerations to make, and the failure to carefully plan your beneficiary designations could waste the assets you have earmarked for your heirs.
The process of beneficiary designation is more than a single decision. It is important that you continue to update your designation as life changes and relationships shift. Let our trustworthy estate planning attorneys at Apple Payne Law advise you on beneficiary designations in Kernersville estate planning.
A beneficiary is a party that is entitled to receive the property of an estate following the creator’s passing. While beneficiaries are often thought of as individuals like spouses or children, they can also be organizations.
Generally speaking, North Carolina has few legal limitations on who can be selected as the beneficiary of an estate. Once probate is completed, and the executor is ready to distribute assets, a beneficiary is generally able to collect their inheritance immediately. The only exception in these cases involves minor beneficiaries. In many cases, an estate plan requires that the assets of a minor beneficiary go into a special account or trust under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act until they reach the age of 18. A knowledgeable lawyer at Apple Payne Law can explain the advantages and disadvantages of various heirs for an estate in Kernersville.
The failure to designate any beneficiaries could complicate an estate plan and cause a variety of problems. The most common issue when there are no beneficiaries designated is that the inheritance could go to an unintended party, as it becomes subject to the laws of North Carolina on “intestacy”, which governs who inherits in this case. This is a common issue when it comes to estate planning tools like life insurance when the primary beneficiary passes before the owner of the policy but they fail to update it.
The failure to designate a beneficiary could also force an estate into probate. This could frustrate the purpose of multiple estate planning tools, including irrevocable trusts. These errors could also result in tax consequences for the beneficiaries. A skilled estate planning attorney at Apple Payne Law can help ensure all beneficiaries are selected and up to date.
Many people might spend the time to develop a careful estate plan with thoughtfully selected beneficiaries. While they might be happy with these decisions initially, changing circumstances in life can lead a person to reconsider their choice of heirs.
Unfortunately, not every person with an estate plan takes the time to regularly update their beneficiary designations. This is risky, as the failure to update beneficiary information could prevent the estate creator from having their final wishes realized. For example, the failure to update beneficiaries could lead a former spouse to remain in a position to inherit everything despite the divorce.
It is helpful to update beneficiary information on a regular basis. Generally, reviewing the estate plan to ensure the appropriate beneficiaries are selected should occur annually. It is also important to update this information following any major life event. These events could include marriages, divorce, birth of a child or when a beneficiary gets married, divorced, or has children as well. A competent estate planning lawyer at Apple Payne Law can remind you to review your beneficiary designations at regular intervals and following major life events.
One of the important advantages of working with an estate planning attorney is the help they could provide during beneficiary designation. In addition to selecting the initial beneficiary, our attorney could also assist with ensuring these designations are updated regularly.
Our seasoned attorneys at Apple Payne Law can assist you with beneficiary designations in Kernersville estate planning. Reach out for a private consultation today.
Apple Payne Law, PLLC