How To Prevent Unintended Beneficiaries Of Your Estate

When doing estate planning, it is essential to do so carefully so that your money goes to the people you intend. Unfortunately, if Illinois estate planning is not done correctly, the money you worked so hard for could go to unintended beneficiaries. Learn how to prevent this problem below, then talk to our Lincolnshire estate planning attorneys if you need assistance.

What Is An Unintended Beneficiary?

An unintended or unexpected beneficiary shows up when the estate’s legal representative did not know they exist. This is more likely to happen when the person dies intestate or without a will. It also can occur if there is a gift in the will to a group of people, such as ‘the children.’ For example, if you name a class of people in the will, someone the executor does not know about could appear and claim to be one of your children.

This situation can happen if a child is born out of wedlock; illegitimate children are still considered children regarding inheritance unless the will says otherwise. If an unintended beneficiary shows up and is part of the class or is an heir because of intestacy, they will have to be paid their share.

How To Safeguard Against Unexpected Beneficiaries

One way to avoid this problem is to put a survivorship clause in the will. This provision means there must be a waiting period before assets can be distributed to all beneficiaries. Also, think about what the relationship is with the named beneficiary. For example, if a beneficiary is a second wife and each of you has children from an earlier marriage, consider adding this contingency: If your spouse does not live longer than you for a certain period, then the rest of your estate should go to your children.

Another option to avoid unintended beneficiaries is leaving all assets in a trust. You can offer support and asset use to your spouse. But when she dies, the assets are given to the children. Setting up a trust may avoid unintended beneficiaries.

Avoiding Probate

Another reason to avoid unintended beneficiaries is that the government could wind up being one of them if you are not careful. Without meticulous estate planning, your estate could wind up in probate, and things could happen to your money that you do not want. Some people end up paying much more to the government in taxes than they should.

The good news is you can often prevent the estate from going to probate. Some ways to avoid an estate going into probate are:

  • Writing and updating your will regularly
  • Designating an estate executor
  • Naming a trustee to manage trust assets

If you want to avoid unintended beneficiaries and probate, you should talk to an experienced estate planning attorney soon. With careful planning, you will ensure your money and assets will go to your intended beneficiaries.

Contact Lincolnshire Estate Planning Attorneys Now

After spending years working, saving, and investing, you want to ensure your assets go to your intended beneficiaries. However, proper estate planning can prevent your assets from going to people or entities you did not plan. Do not let it happen to you. Contact our Lincolnshire estate planning attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson now at (847) 325-5559 for a free consultation.

Updated as of July 2019
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