The Term “Beneficiaries”
Beneficiary is the legal term for the person or people who will inherit your assets. You may also think of “heir” or “inheritance”, these are all related to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries of an estate may receive your assets including money, investments, property, personal belongings, etc. The beneficiaries of someone’s estate will be named in their Will or Trust where their wishes for what is to become of their assets will be documented. A beneficiary can be anyone including a family member, even children or minors, and can also include charities if the estate owner wants to leave any assets to a charitable cause.
Executors Vs. Beneficiaries of Estate
So how does a beneficiary know what they are getting? Well, if the deceased has not spoken to them directly, there should be a named Executor of their estate plan. The executor is the person who is named to manage the estate after the person passes away. This person will be responsible for distributing the assets to the beneficiaries along with other duties of maintaining and disbursing the estate. The executor will typically be in contact with the Estate Planning Attorney and any other professionals that were involved in the estate plan in order to distribute the assets correctly and take care of other necessary affairs.
A beneficiary can be more involved in the estate if they wish. Asking for information, like any debts that are owed from the estate or what all is included in the estate, is information that the beneficiary is entitled to. It is also common that a beneficiary and executor can be the same person. Typically the executor is a trusted person to the deceased so it is not uncommon for that person to also be a beneficiary.
Another distinction between an executor and a beneficiary is that the executor can be liable for the estate if anything were to not be taken care of properly. This makes choosing the executor a really important decision as they should be someone that you not only trust, but you know will have the capacity to handle tasks like taxes, selling any assets, and being fair in the distribution of assets to your beneficiaries.
We will guide you through the estate planning process and help you choose the right executor and beneficiaries of your estate. Please contact us to get started today.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG