For many decades, discovering that a relative or loved one had passed away and left you something was only a good thing. Due to taxes and complications with real estate, however, it has become common for people to be hesitant if you find out that you’re someone’s beneficiary.
This presents the question of how to respond if someone does not want your estate or if you have no heirs or loved ones to name as a beneficiary.
Accepting an Inheritance is Not Required
People are allowed to refuse an inheritance. When a beneficiary requests an inheritance, it is referred to as a disclaimer. If an individual rejects an inheritance, the person is not able to then state where the inheritance should go. In situations where someone denies an inheritance, the estate will then pass to any alternate beneficiaries that are named in estate planning documents.
Our lawyers have seen people refuse an inheritance for several reasons, but some of the most common reasons why people refuse a bequest include:
- The individual prefers that the assets pass to the alternate beneficiary instead
- The individual has a large estate of their own and does not need the assets
- The assets that are being passed on require a lot of maintenance
- The asset is a property that is “underwater” and requires extensive repairs
Picking a Beneficiary if You Don’t Have an Heir
If you don’t have any children, deciding who should receive your estate is quite a challenge. For many people in this situation, the lack of someone to name as a beneficiary is often a reason to delay creating any type of an estate plan. Even though it might be unpleasant to think about estate planning, creating an estate plan lets you take control over how your assets will be controlled in the future.
Some people decide to resolve issues about how their estate should be passed on by focusing on their interests and become engaged in charitable giving. For example, if a person who was a teacher who did not have any heir, they might decide to create a foundation to award scholarships to college-bound students. The exact stipulations regarding how the scholarships will be rewarded are decided by the individual.
Fortunately, in many cases when people need to find a creative solution to pass on assets, they often do not need to update their estate plan every few years as other people would. Of course, if a person’s relationship with a charity changes, it might become necessary to alter estate planning documents.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
It can be incredibly challenging to find the right beneficiary for your estate. This is just one of the many complications that people who want to perform successful estate planning must navigate.
If you or your loved one needs the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Estate Planning today to schedule a free case evaluation.