Estate planning is generally focused on what you want for yourself and your family’s future. You are typically focusing on what you want to happen to your assets when you pass away and who you want involved in the estate administration process. However, focusing solely on your own wants and needs is not always the best policy when it comes to estate planning. In fact, the best estate plans often take the beneficiaries lives into consideration.
Focus on beneficiaries when making your estate plan
The reality is that no two beneficiaries are alike. Whether your beneficiaries are your own children or other family members, each person has their own life story that should be taken into account as you make your estate plan. While some beneficiaries live a more financially conservative lifestyle, other beneficiaries may have a “spend first” mentality. Some beneficiaries may struggle with substance abuse issues or mental illness, and some may require additional medical care in the future due to a disability. It is important to consider all of these factors when deciding how to divide up your estate.
Disinheriting a beneficiary and redistributing assets
An even distribution of assets among all beneficiaries is often the easiest and most practical choice for many families. However, many people may find that they have no choice but to disinherit a beneficiary or redistribute their assets so that one party receives more than another. It is important to remember that this is your estate and you have every right to do what you believe is best. If you decide to do this, providing an explanation for your decision in your estate documents may make things much easier for family members down the road when you are no longer around to explain yourself.
Trusts may be beneficial
If you do not want to disinherit anyone, trusts allow you specify the terms of someone’s inheritance and name a trustee (or a professional trustee) to make sure these terms are adhered to. This is one way to make sure that the person you are concerned about will receive their portion of the estate the way you envisioned it.
You can change your mind
While you may have decided that disinheriting someone right now is the right decision, you have the right to change your mind later. Even if you do not disinherit anyone, regularly reviewing and updating your estate documents is strongly encouraged.
To update your estate planning documents, or start the process, consider contacting an estate planning attorney.