Beneficiaries: Selecting or Leaving out

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Beneficiaries are persons or entities that you have selected in your Will to receive part or all of your assets in the event of your death.

You can select anyone that you like, and more than one person or entity can share in your estate. Examples of beneficiaries include:

  • Spouses and partners
  • Children
  • Parents and brothers/sisters
  • More distant relatives (eg cousins, uncles, aunts)
  • Friends
  • Charities

If you are wanting to leave assets to an entity, such as a charity, church organisation, or sporting body, then you need to check that they are a legal entity that can take the gift.

You need to be careful, also, about leaving out people who are closely related or dependent on you. For instance, some parents wish to exclude one of their children from taking part of their estate. This can be for many reasons, for instance because the child no longer has a relationship with the parent, or because the child has already received their share while the parent is alive. Other dependents include non relatives such as live in partners who have been with the Willmaker for a number of years.

These people may sue the Estate after your death asking for the Will to be revised to give them a share. The Court can decide to give them part of your Estate even though your Will specifically excludes them. What is even worse, is that the legal costs that are incurred by your Estate in defending any such action eat into the assets that you have left, and Court actions can be very expensive.

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