For many people, getting their final affairs in order means executing a Last Will and Testament. Is that it? In a word – No! There is much more to consider when planning for the distribution of assets after you are gone.
One of the easiest things to do is checking beneficiary designations on accounts. Incomplete or invalid beneficiary designations can really throw a wrench into your planning. They can also bring a happy surprise to distant relatives years, even decades, after your death!
It may sound odd, but we are often writing checks for distributions in an estate to another estate. A simple example would be Great-Grandma’s estate paying out to Grandma, even though Grandma is also deceased. Then Grandma’s share gets distributed to her heirs. In this example, both Great-Grandma’s and Grandma’s estates would have to go through the probate process, incurring the time and costs involved in probating two estates.
This often results from stock shares, a bank account or a life insurance policy lost track of after a change in residence. Financial institutions must turn such funds over to the state to hold until the rightful owner or heirs come forward.
This money can languish for many years because nobody even knows Great-Grandma lost track of her account. By the time the money is located, it may have to be distributed several generations down from the original owner, passing through multiple probate estates along the way. So it is TRUE that you can inherit after your death!
This is not an ideal way to transfer property, so make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date! And if you want to learn about the other tools available for getting your affairs in order, please give us a call to schedule your free, no-pressure consultation.