A beneficiary is a person or an organization who a trust is created for. A beneficiary receives the benefits of the trust that had been created. People who inherit from a will or people who receive proceeds from a life insurance policy or from another instrument from which there is a distribution may also be considered beneficiaries.
If you are a beneficiary, you need to understand what your rights are and you need to protect your interest in the assets that you are supposed to inherit or which are supposed to be distributed to you.
To find out more about the rights of beneficiaries and to get help from an experienced lawyer who advises beneficiaries, give Zimmer Law Firm a call today.
Who is a Beneficiary?
Investopedia broadly defines beneficiary as: “anybody who gains an advantage and/or profits from something.”
When considering the term in a legal or financial context in relation to estate planning, beneficiary typically refers to someone who will receive a death benefit from a life insurance policy or who will receive trust distributions. The term beneficiary can also be used to describe people who inherit based on a last will and testament, whereas the term heir is often used to describe a situation where someone receives an inheritance based on intestacy laws because there is no will.
Regardless of the specific legal definition of the term, those who stand to inherit through any legal process after a death will benefit from that inheritance. They should ensure they know what their rights are under Ohio law and should take steps to try to protect the money and property which will be given to them. An attorney can help.
When Should a Beneficiary Get Help After a Death
Any beneficiary could benefit from getting legal guidance and advice, because the process of transferring assets after a death can be a confusing one. Many people mistakenly believe that after someone has passed away, that person’s property will usually go immediately to the new owners who the property has been left to in a will. This is not the case. There are legal rules that create formalities which must be fulfilled and that establish requirements that must be followed.
The specifics of how assets transfer after a death are going to vary depending upon the situation. Often, probate or trust administration, or both processes, will be necessary. Probate takes place in a probate court, while trust administration is usually handled by a trust administrator without judicial involvement. The processes involve an executor (for a will) or trust administrator (for a trust) taking care of property and following legal protocols for its transfer.
Beneficiaries may wish to have legal assistance to monitor the actions taken by trust administrators or by executors. While both executors and administrators have legal duties imposed upon them under the law, there have been cases in the past where administrators or executors have misappropriated or mismanaged the deceased’s property. This can adversely impact the value of assets a beneficiary will receive. When a beneficiary gets legal help, an attorney can monitor the probate or trust administration proceedings and can help beneficiaries to take action if something goes wrong.
A beneficiary should also get help if the will or the trust is contested. If you stand to inherit from a will or receive benefits from a trust and someone argues that the will or trust should not be considered valid, your inheritance is in jeopardy. The executor or trust administrator should defend the will or trust, but you may wish to have your own attorney who advocates for you and who specifically has a legal obligation to protect your interests.
Finally, beneficiaries should get help if they are owed proceeds from an insurance policy and if the insurance company is not making prompt payments.
Getting Help from a Cincinnati Estate Planning Attorney
A Cincinnati estate planning attorney can provide comprehensive advice to beneficiaries. Zimmer Law Firm will review your situation and can help you to determine if your situation warrants legal action.
Our legal team can monitor the trust administration and/or probate process after a death to protect the rights of beneficiaries. We can assist in dealing with problems with a life insurance company if issues arise in getting paid. We can also take action on your behalf against a trust administrator or executor who is not following the deceased’s instructions or who is adversely impacting the value of your inheritance.
To learn more about the rights of beneficiaries after a death has occurred, you can join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 513.721.1513 to learn more about the ways in which we can assist you in protecting a gift which someone has left you.