8 Ways to Avoid Probate 7th Edition by Mary Randolph

By Mary Randolph

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And even if you don’t name a child as your primary beneficiary, you may well want to name one as an alternate. There is, however, a potential problem. If that beneficiary is still a minor at your death, you will want to arrange for an adult to manage the money. If you don’t make some arrangements, and a child inherits more than a few thousand dollars, the child’s parents, if they’re alive, will probably have to go to court and ask to be appointed guardians of the money. If neither parent is alive, the child’s court-appointed and court-supervised guardian will handle the child’s money.

If you name a beneficiary (as long as you don’t name your estate), the money won’t go through probate. You might use a trust to provide management for the funds if you expect the beneficiaries to be under age 18 when they inherit, but this is a fairly unusual situation. The trust must meet certain IRS regulations. If you do name a revocable living trust as the beneficiary of your retirement account, required minimum distributions after your death will be based on the life expectancy of the oldest trust beneficiary (if the beneficiary is a person, not an institution).

Beneficiary and instead name her nephew, Max. When Marge dies, Elaine doesn’t inherit any of the money in the account—even though she’s firmly convinced that her father intended her to. D. beneficiary to a joint account not only avoids probate, but allows you to plan for the unlikely event that both persons die simultaneously. Example: June and Horace have a joint savings account. They name their daughter, Virginia, as the payable-on-death beneficiary. When June and Horace are killed in an accident, Virginia inherits the money in the account without probate.

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