Estate planning includes drafting and executing vital legal documents, planning for future healthcare, and passing your assets after death. Another crucial step in estate planning is beneficiary designation.
Many accounts have a spot to select beneficiary designations, such as pensions, IRS, and employer plans. If you have questions or need help with beneficiary designations in Huntington Beach estate planning, reach out to a lawyer. An experienced attorney could help you complete the necessary documents and give you peace of mind about the future.
The Importance of Beneficiary Designations
Beneficiary designation is the process of naming a person or people to receive assets from insurance policies and other financial accounts directly after death. Estate planners can also choose beneficiaries for retirement accounts, 401k plans, annuities, etc. The beneficiaries will have control of passing the assets to others upon the death of the account owners. Eligible beneficiaries include the following:
- A spouse
- Children under 18 years old
- Disabled or chronically ill people
- Anyone within ten years of age of the deceased
Estate planners can choose almost any person, trust, or charity to be their beneficiaries. When selecting a person with special needs, it is usually a good idea to ensure there is someone to help them and watch out for their best interests. A Huntington Beach lawyer knowledgeable about beneficiary designations in estate planning could help make selections and complete the paperwork.
Designated Beneficiary and the Payment of Proceeds
California statutes protect the rights of beneficiaries and ensure they receive assets per the deceased’s instructions. Most investment documentation allows the account holder to name a beneficiary. Insurance and other account proceeds pass to the beneficiaries per the policy terms or upon the insured’s death. When there is one designated beneficiary, they will receive a lump-sum payment of the entire account upon death as per California Code § 22960.82.
When more than one beneficiary designation is selected, they will receive equal shares of the account assets. A seasoned attorney in Huntington Beach could answer questions about applicable statutes for beneficiary designations.
Designated Beneficiary Disputes and Litigation
There may be disputes and litigation when estate planners fail to update beneficiary designations, such as removing an ex-spouse to designate a new partner. The issues arising from the litigation process to settle can be grueling and time-consuming.
Revising estate plans and documents regularly can save loved ones from problems in the long run. Estate planners may also choose to use designated beneficiary agreements. These planning tools provide safeguards and make settling disputes more straightforward, should they occur.
Call a Huntington Beach Lawyer for Beneficiary Designations and Estate Planning
While many think of drafting a will and trust when they imagine estate planning, choosing designated beneficiaries is another crucial part of the process. Carefully selecting the correct people to handle the duties can save your loved ones from disputes and ongoing legal trouble after your death.
Beneficiary designation exists for bank accounts, vehicles, retirement accounts, and more. The selection ensures the immediate transfer of assets upon death rather than going through the probate process. Speak with a lawyer experienced with beneficiary designation in Huntington Beach estate planning if you have questions or concerns about the process. Contact our firm today for an initial appointment.