Ask Terry Questions Change in our beneficiaries

Change in our beneficiaries

By Terry Savage on November 28, 2018 | Wild Card

My wife and I are in our late 50s with no children, no debt, our funeral paid off and a revocation of trust that was drawn up in 2012. After much thought, we have decided to make our local foundation the primary beneficiary following our passing to do good works in the community. We have removed the names of nieces and nephews from our accounts with two financial investment firms and replaced it with the foundation as the secondary beneficiary. Our certified planners have assured us that this supersedes their names listed in our trust.

Additionally, we have traditional checking and money market accounts, and a home valued at about $260. We feel that we can write our siblings a check at any time for them to spend however they want. Do we need to add the foundation at our banks, and go back to the lawyer and have them draw up a new trust with no names and the foundation as the sole beneficiary? Thank you.

Terry Says

I would DEFINITELY go back to your estate planning attorney and tell him or her what you have already done and what your wishes are.  If your CFPs have not seen the terms of your Revocable Living Trust they can’t know if there is a conflict created between your account names and what was designated in the trust.  That could result in a big fight that ties up your estate for years, and costs your heirs — either the foundation of your relatives — a fortune in legal fees!

So, don’t delay.    And one more thing.  I’m a bit confused by your statement that you could “write your siblings a check at any time” — The real question is whether that time will come before you die!

Use this return visit to your estate planner to really consider whether you want to disinherit all your relatives.  Even a small amount might be helpful to them — and a reminder of your generosity.  And finally, have you truly investigated the local foundation– its expenses, track record, etc?  It sounds like you’re leaving them a significant bequest — and you want to make sure they will use it wisely.

Don’t procrastinate.




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