Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How can I find out who the Beneficiary is Under a Life Insurance Policy?

There are so many issues that come up during the estate administration of a person who has died.  Often family members want to determine the beneficiary under any life insurance policy.  Further, if there are children of a prior marriage this information may not be easily attainable. 

Life insurance policies do not go through the probate process.  The probate process does establish a public file that any one can view.  However, the insurance policy is a private contract between the insured and the insurance company.  There is no real audit trail or documentation regarding who may have received insuarnce proceeds.  Therefore, it is important to let family members know about your insurance policy or at least the person that you named as beneficiary.  You do not want to leave your family members in the dark if they need to know. 

Put your affairs in order today.  Contact us at www.ythlaw.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beneficiaries of a Will Need to Be Timely with Complaints

A potential client called regarding issues with the executor of an estate.  The caller was a beneficiary under the Will.  However, it had been over 13 years since the Will was probated. 

It is important to be timely with any issues you might have when you are a beneficiary under the Will.  You want to make sure  you get the assets that you are entitled to receive.  You will impact your opportunity to obtain whatever monies you are due the longer you might wait to raise issues.

When a Will is probated, there are timeframes that must be met. The Executor is required to provide a status report to the Register of Wills within as well as file the inheritance tax return within 9 months of death. The estate can be closed out with either a final accounting to the court or a Family Settlement agreement.   If you are a beneficiary under a Will you have to be notified to properly closed out the estate.  You can obtain a copy of the probate file to see what has or is occurring.

Contact us for your probate needs and questions at www.ythlaw.com

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Without a Will - There Will be Unintended Consequences

I just recevied a call from a prospective client.  She had an issue that, unfortunately, happens to many people.  However, it can be avoided with proper planning. 

The caller's mother died without a Will and her primary property was her home.  Her husband predeceased her but her 2 children survived her.  The caller has lived in the home with her mother while her sister has never been involved with the mother or expressed any interest in the home.  Now, the mother has passed and guess who gets the home.  YOU GUESSED it, the caller and HER SISTER equally.

Even though the caller obtained Letters of Administration to handle her mother's estate, it does not give her 100% interest in the estate.  She did get appointed because her sister expressed no interest in handling the administration and signed forms to that effect for the Register of Wills, this did not serve as a disclaimer of her inheritance.  That is a separate "estate administration" process. 

So, encourage your loved ones to get a Will done so that unintended consequences do not happen to them.  Contact us for expert estate planning!