Naming beneficiaries to keep the peace.

Things to consider when choosing beneficiaries
December 10, 2018
Acceptable Forms of ID for Notarization
March 17, 2019

Naming beneficiaries to keep the peace among your children.

Children seem to be the natural choice when naming beneficiaries.  But, often times, the children experience a very difficult time when their parents’ estate is being divided among them.  There are some very important things to consider when choosing beneficiaries that you want to receive your property upon your death.  For most of my clients, it’s relatively simple, especially if they have children.  A question that many of my clients now ask is how can they keep the peace among their children when that time comes.

Some say that people change when there’s a death in the family.  Your trust or will says this:  “I leave my entire estate to my children to be divided equally.”  Deciding how to divide the estate among the living children can be difficult.  It is important to understand what the estate consists of.  In a previous article, I wrote about the importance of having a list of assets, which is very helpful to locate your property.   There are two different types of property outlined below.

Real property

Real property is immovable.  Land that you own with or without improvements.  A residence, rental property, commercial buildings and vacant land are commonly known as real estate.  Real property can be sold, with the cash easily divided among your named children.

Personal property

Personal property is movable.  Such as furniture, art, jewelry, coin collections, boats, cars, and cash   Personal property can be gifted by identifying specific items to be given to each child. Often times, my clients include a Gift Bequest at the end of their trust or will.
  Below are a few ideas that may help with making a gift list:
  • Your daughter wants the Singer sewing machine that you used to make her wedding dress.
  • A nephew is fascinated with your coin collection.
  • That 100+ tea cup collection is perfect for your young niece who loves to put on a tea party!
  • The art supplies will be appreciated by the creative one in your family.
  • The gun collection to your son who enjoys hunting.
  • Grandmother’s wedding ring to your daughter.
  • Your father’s watch to your son.
  • The wood-working tools to your builder child.
  • A 15 foot sailboat to the child who loves to sail!

Making Gift Bequests

According to the legal dictionary, a gift bequest is defined as a gift of personal property owned by a decedent at the time of death which is directed by the decedent’s will.  Without a list, your personal property may end up with someone other than you would have liked. Making gift bequests may eliminate the possibility of bringing up old wounds or creating new ones among your children.

When the time comes for your children to divide your personal property, it can be emotionally draining.  Some children are grieving and waiting patiently for their inherited share of your estate, while others are not so patient.  One child may suddenly make life unimaginably difficult for the rest of the family.  Someone may have taken certain items from your home before family can get together.  When more than one child wants that family heirloom, how do they choose?  The decision process can create resentments that sadly could last a lifetime among your children. 

It’s dollars and sense.  It’s easy to divide dollars.  It makes sense to create a Gift Bequest.  Doing so could make a huge difference in the lives of your loved ones. We help our clients prepare for difficulties that may arise, even when they least expect it.

This content is general knowledge and can be found on any bookshelf in a public library or bookstore in California.
Carol Ramirez
Carol Ramirez
Carol Ramirez, CLA, LDA, is a registered and bonded Legal Document Assistant providing affordable legal document preparation to consumers with the highest degree of confidentiality and professionalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *