Listing beneficiaries in a will

Date: Oct 30, 2012

If you have decided that it is time for estate planning and working out how you want your property to be distributed, then you will have to consider who you want your belongings to go to.

Depending on your personal arrangements this may be an easy decision or it may be more complex.

With a large family, you will have to decide which members obtain the different parts of your estate. If you have a significant portfolio of investments, you may wish to leave pieces to your children and the bulk to your spouse. Or you may want to leave it all to your spouse who can subsequently pass it on in full to the children upon his or her death.

With extended members of the family like grandchildren, take the time to talk to your own kids about whether you are going to include their offspring as beneficiaries.

Perhaps you may want to create a trust so grandchildren can access their inheritance when they turn a certain age or maybe you decide with your children that the easiest way is to pass it on, one generation at a time.

For things that have more of a sentimental value than a monetary amount, leave those to whom it means the most. Your best friend for example, may hold more stock in certain collections than your family because the items carry a story behind them; so talk it over with your family and friends about who treasures what. Discuss with your wills and estates lawyer about the best way to proceed to ensure not only your desires are met, but any obligations  are also satisfied and that your family are provided for.

A charitable organisation might also be a beneficiary in your will, especially if you have been associated with them for a number of years. Consider your options and what organisations you value such as an aid group, homeless shelter or some sort of medical research.

Perhaps you should consider giving directions for your own funeral. This could  save your family from concerning themselves about what you might want, and  also allows them a chance to focus on making the arrangements for your farewell.

Speak to an experienced wills and estates lawyer about estate planning and preparing for the future.