Contact The Firm

5 key considerations when making beneficiary designations

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Preparing your estate plan is an important step to take care of your loved ones after your passing. An important part of this process is naming beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are the individuals or entities that you choose to receive the assets from your estate. While this might seem like a straightforward task, it requires careful thought and consideration to avoid potential complications down the line.

Naming beneficiaries is not a one-time event. Life changes, and your estate plan should reflect those changes. Regularly reviewing and updating your beneficiaries helps ensure that your assets will end up in the right hands. So, what should you keep in mind when making beneficiary designations in your Texas estate plan?

1. Consider the age of the beneficiary

If the beneficiaries you name are minors, you must make arrangements for their inheritance. In Texas, children under 18 cannot directly inherit property. You can set up a trust, appoint a property guardian or use the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act to manage these assets.

2. Keep your beneficiary designations updated

It is important to revisit your beneficiary designations periodically or after significant life events like marriage, divorce or the birth of a child. Outdated beneficiary designations can lead to assets going to unintended recipients.

3. Account for taxes

Some inheritances may be subject to taxes. Consider the tax implications for your beneficiaries and discuss strategies with a financial advisor to reduce the tax burden.

4. Include alternate beneficiaries

Naming alternate beneficiaries is a good practice. If your primary beneficiary predeceases you and you have not named an alternate, the asset could end up in probate, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

5. Be specific and clear

Ensure that you accurately identify your beneficiaries. If the designation is vague or confusing, it can lead to disputes among your loved ones and potentially lengthy court proceedings.

Making beneficiary designations is a vital part of creating your Texas estate plan. Thoughtful and clear designations can ensure the distribution of your assets follows your wishes. Remember, estate planning is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that adapts as your life changes.