You might have already considered which family members or friends you wish to receive certain assets or gifts through your estate. But have you determined when they should receive those assets? Many people are unaware that the timing of when your beneficiaries receive their inheritance can be critical to ensure that your vision for your loved ones and your assets is realized.
You worked hard to accumulate your property, and if you're like most people, then you almost certainly wish to use it to cement your legacy with the people and organizations you love most. To achieve this goal, you must take action to develop a thoughtful estate plan.
A well-crafted estate plan doesn't just direct who will receive your assets after your lifetime. It also ensures that the timing of your asset distribution aligns with your overall wishes for the future.
The timing of the distribution of an inheritance can mean the difference between your beneficiary benefiting from it as intended and having your hard-earned money dissipate quickly. If the inheritance is distributed at the wrong time, it could be wiped out through excessive spending or lost to a drug habit, in a divorce or to satisfy a legal judgment.
If you do not have a will or other estate plans in place, then your state's laws will dictate how your assets will be distributed — and when. Intestate succession laws do not provide any control over the timing of an inheritance, as they generally direct that the assets must be transferred to beneficiaries as quickly as possible within the confines of the probate process. As a result, your heirs receive the funds and property as soon as the estate administration is completed, regardless of the impact of a distribution at that time.