24th Mar 2014
As discussed in the last post: the main thing to understand about beneficiary designations is that they pass property independently of the terms of any established will or trust.
Consider the following example. A father dies, leaving three adult children. His wife predeceased him. His will reads that his estate will be split equally between his three children under those circumstances. However, as the family goes through all the documentation left behind, his retirement account from his work, which is a substantial part of what he owned at death, was payable to his wife, and since she predeceased, then to the oldest son alone by name under beneficiary designations on the account.
The legal result will be that dad’s work will pay out the entire retirement account to the named beneficiaries – which in this case was the oldest child alone. The assets subject to the last will and testament will pass to the three children in equal shares.
This may have been intentional or unintentional, and it may be a major problem or a non event to those left behind, as the next post will explore.
This blog contains general information and the opinions of the author – not legal advice; you should seek the advice of competent counsel (attorney/lawyer) when considering any legal issues.