Do you know who in your life would receive assets from your retirement accounts or a life insurance policy? Have you updated this recently?
Beneficiaries are the people who will receive assets inside your estate or directly receive assets inside other accounts like brokerage accounts or from life insurance policies. There are many different things to keep in mind as you think about who to name as a beneficiary.
The first of these is when and how a beneficiary should receive. In the event that your property will go to your surviving children or other relatives like nieces, nephews or grandchildren, are you comfortable with these beneficiaries receiving all of their assets at age 18 or would you like to delay distribution until later point in time?
A trust is one of the most flexible estate planning tools to help you exert more control and determine when beneficiaries will receive these assets.
Another issue to consider with your beneficiaries is equalizing portions. If you would like to equalize to the extent that you can, lifetime gifts made to beneficiaries, you’ll want to think about how this can be done and still maximize your estate plans. This includes helping loved ones who have big ticket costs such as a wedding or college tuition.
You may wish to build in equalization strategies into tools like a trust to ensure that other beneficiaries who didn’t receive these lifetime gifts are still covered. Finally, think about whether any of your beneficiaries are receiving government tested benefits because they have special needs. This should be incorporated in a unique estate planning strategy handled by a knowledgeable attorney in New Hampshire.