If you already have a will, you have done a good job of planning for the future and thinking beyond today and tomorrow. If you don’t have a will, it’s never too late to create one.
A major (and sometimes difficult) decision that making a will involves is figuring out who to name as your beneficiaries – that is, the individuals who will inherit what you own. That includes things such as real estate, valuables like jewelry, family heirlooms and art and your financial assets.
Selecting the best people for this responsibility is very important and not something to be taken lightly or decided casually. According to Forbes magazine, “Determining the right assets to leave to different beneficiaries is an absolutely critical part of effective estate planning.”
Obvious choices to be your beneficiaries would be your spouse, parents, extended family members, children, close friends and siblings. Depending upon how you feel about some or all of these people, it can be a tough call.
For example, do you want Aunt Sylvia to get your Miami beachfront property that’s worth millions? Will your sister treasure the pearl necklace your mother handed down to you? Are your beneficiaries able to wait until the time-consuming legalities are done to actually inherit what you left to them?
What to consider when choosing the beneficiaries in your will
- When your will goes through the probate process, your beneficiaries must wait until that process finishes to actually inherit your assets. That can take quite a long time. Either pick people who are patient or set up a revocable living trust for those assets. “That way,” states Forbes, “the trustee can distribute assets directly to beneficiaries without going through probate.”
- Do you have a beneficiary in mind who might want money fast? If so, that person might be a suitable beneficiary for your life insurance policy. That money can be given pretty quickly to a beneficiary.
- Deciding who inherits your retirement plan can get complicated. If you place your retirement plan in a trust, it is safe from creditors.
Making a will may seem like a grim task, but it’s wise strategy to plan ahead while you can. Check to be sure that all the arrangements specified in your will conform to Florida law.