Most families have certain expectations about inheritances. However, when all is said and done, the only person who has the right to determine beneficiaries is the person planning their estate. So, even though your siblings, cousins or children have the assumption that you will be leaving your estate to them, you are completely free to cut them out of your will if you wish to. For example, you may have a strong desire to leave your entire estate to charity.
If you suspect that your final wishes will come as a surprise to many after your death, it is particularly important that you create a bulletproof estate plan. This is because controversial estate plans are much more likely to be contested by those who were natural heirs. The following is an overview of how to plan your estate well enough to avoid complications.
Clearly name beneficiaries
Not all of your assets will go through your will, so naming beneficiaries in your will is not enough. For example, your pension, life insurance, and other schemes will likely have the option for you to name a “payable on death” beneficiary. You can name specific beneficiaries for each asset, and these assets will not pass through probate.
Leave a letter
If your estate plan is going to be perceived as controversial, one of the best things that you can do is to leave a letter. In this letter, you can lay out the exact reasons why you have made the choices that you have. This will give natural heirs some sense of closure, and will likely discourage them from contesting the will.
Speak to people about your plans
It’s best that those you love and trust are aware of your estate plan during your lifetime. This will help them to be prepared.
Planning an estate is never an easy process, but it can be made easier by taking early action. If you want to update your estate plan, you should be proactive in your approach.