What is a Beneficiary?

When an individual creates an estate plan, they are preparing for what happens to their assets after they die. In doing so, they create a will or trusts that ensure these assets end up in the right hands. This allows the individual to distribute their possessions and belongings to beneficiaries. A beneficiary is a person or an entity that inherits the assets of a deceased individual. When an estate is going through probate, beneficiaries often find it helpful to seek the assistance of an attorney to guide them through the process and protect their rights to certain assets.

Minor Beneficiaries

When people leave behind certain assets, they sometimes leave them to younger children to receive when they grow older. If a child beneficiary is left more than $5,000 from an estate, trust, or life insurance policy, it may be required that a Guardian oversees the asset(s) until the child is 18 years old. Sometimes this is explicitly stated in the will or trust, or an individual passes away without an estate plan. Situations such as these can become difficult, which is why it is important to have an experienced attorney to help beneficiaries during this time.

Tax Obligation

In the state of California, there is no inheritance tax on beneficiaries. However, there may be tax obligations that still impact an estate or a person’s inheritance. Some notable taxes that may come into effect are:

  • Income taxes
  • Estate taxes
  • Generation-skipping taxes
  • Real property taxes

When an individual in California dies, the Franchise Tax Board and Internal Revenue Service must be notified. Those who receive assets from California estate should check to see if their own state will enforce a tax on the inheritance.

Contesting a Will

After an individual passes away, the will in their estate plan must go through probate. This process is to see if a will is valid. In some cases, a beneficiary may be suspicious of the content of a will and believe it did not go through the proper channels to be legal. A beneficiary may wish to contest a will is they believe the following:

  • The deceased did not sign their will
  • There were no witnesses present to the signing
  • The deceased was coerced into signing their will

In the event of this, a beneficiary may contest a will to review its validity. A skilled attorney may advise a beneficiary through this process.

Contact our Firm

If you are a beneficiary to an estate and wish to seek more information about your rights, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman today.

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most.Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.