Assumptions May Cause Complications
One of the easiest ways to distribute your smaller assets (like bank accounts) is to list your beneficiaries on the accounts as recipients upon your death. When you pass away the asset will then immediately transfer to the beneficiary without any need to pass through probate.
However, when you pass your assets over without specific instructions, you might find that your assets don’t get distributed as you want. For example, you could add each adult child as a beneficiary for the bank account. And you could verbally request that the money in your bank accounts gets distributed equally among your children. Unfortunately, one of them could withdraw the full amount without consent from the other account holders.
Just a few thousands dollars could then cause a rift in your family. Work with an estate planner to clearly state your intentions in your will and create the legal mechanisms to ensure your assets are distributed accordingly. Money can have a polarizing effect within the closest of families. And while you might assume you know the financial circumstances of each of your children, chances are there are details about their personal finances they won’t share with you. Even the most seemingly responsible adult might have financial concerns that could override their loyalty to your express wishes.
Never make any assumptions when it comes to asset distribution. The passing of a loved one is a stressful time for a family. If there are any vaguaries regarding your assets, the stress of your death could translate into long-standing grudges over financial matters.