The Importance of Retaining Representation as a Beneficiary in an Estate Plan
If you have been named as a beneficiary or heir in a loved one’s will or any type of trust, you might be happy to know that the person cared about you enough to include you in his or her estate plan. In many cases, you might be able to receive the benefits intended for you without any hassle. In other situations, however, you might encounter virtually endless obstacles to overcome before you can receive your intended inheritance. When things get complicated, it might be in your best interest to enlist the help of an attorney who is qualified to ensure that your rights and best interests are protected.
Claiming Your Share of the Estate
Being named as a beneficiary means that the creator of the estate plan intended for you to receive a certain portion of his or her estate. Depending on the circumstances, you might need to take certain steps to claim the property that was meant for you to have. For example, if you were named as a beneficiary for a retirement account or a life insurance policy, you will probably need to file specific paperwork in order to receive your appropriate payout. Your attorney can help you understand what you need to do and when.
Contesting a Will
If you have reasons to believe that the will or any other estate planning document is not valid, you may need to file a legal challenge. Consider a scenario in which your loved one promised you a particular percentage or consideration prior to his or her death. During probate, however, the executor of the estate presents an entirely different will to the court—one that excludes you and other individuals who should have been listed as beneficiaries. The new will could be the result of undue influence or fraud, and it may be up to you to contest it. Your lawyer can be an invaluable resource during a will challenge.
Improper Administration of the Estate
The executor of the estate—sometimes referred to as a “personal representative”—is responsible for managing the decedent’s assets until they are distributed in accordance with a valid estate plan. Unfortunately, the person chosen for such a role is not always up to the task. He or she might be too busy, unaware of the seriousness of the duties, or, worst of all, only interested in taking advantage of the situation. If you believe that the poor estate administration is causing problems for you and other beneficiaries, an attorney can help you explore your options to taking action.
We Are Here to Help
For more information about how a lawyer can assist you as a beneficiary named in a loved one’s estate plan, contact one of our experienced DuPage County estate planning lawyers. We will work closely with you to ensure that your rights are fully protected. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.