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Things to Know Before Your First Estate Planning Meeting: “Who are the beneficiaries/heirs and how do you want to benefit them?”

Whether you have an abundance of assets, or very few, making a plan for what happens to them after your death could make things a little easier for the loved ones you leave behind. The best way to ensure that your assets are disposed of pursuant to your wishes is to hire a Denver estate planning attorney to draft a comprehensive estate plan. However, you should know a few simple things before you go into your estate planning meeting. This month, we will address three questions to which you should know the answer.

Today we ask: “Who are the beneficiaries and how do you want to benefit them?”

Beneficiaries are the people you wish to benefit through estate planning. Heirs are the people entitled to receive your assets through intestacy (dying without a will). These two terms are often interchangeable, but it is important to know the difference. This is where the questions get tough. Are you single, married, or in a committed relationship? Is this the first or a subsequent marriage? Are the children all from this marriage or are there children from prior marriages? Are there any family members who are heirs under intestacy for whom you are intentionally not providing in your estate plan? It is important to ask these questions in order to avoid any surprises after your death.

Once you have identified the beneficiaries, the next step is how you want to benefit them. There are several different ways you can go about this. You could give it all to the beneficiaries outright or through a trust. You could make certain requirements such as the beneficiaries must be of a certain age to receive anything. You could provide for only the education of certain beneficiaries. As long as you know the who and the how, your attorney will draft the provisions that comport with your wishes.

Other things to consider when asking these questions:

  • Are asset titles and your beneficiary designations consistent with how you want to benefit the beneficiary?
  • Do you understand the Designated Beneficiary rules on your pre-tax retirement accounts?
  • Do you have a taxable estate?
  • If so, do you know your income, estate and generation skipping tax objectives?

The legal team at The Brown Law Firm, LLC can help you navigate these hard questions for your unique situation. Call today to arrange an appointment: (303) 339-3750 or visit our website.