Estate Planning Considerations: Beneficiary Designations & Pets

October 9, 2022- 

Beneficiary Designations– A beneficiary designation is a document whereby an individual can name a person or multiple people to receive the funds in a financial account or life insurance policy, so that the funds are payable upon the death of the account holder.  If it has been some time since you designated your beneficiaries, you may want to check that your beneficiaries are still who you would like them to be, especially if you have had major life change such as a divorce.  I recently watched a special on the life of comedian Redd Foxx, who died while married to Wife #4, but his life insurance policy named Wife #2 as the beneficiary.  There was a legal fight, and Wife #2 won.  FL Law voids former spouses as beneficiaries, but not all jurisdictions are the same. There are some divorce decree considerations, but nevertheless, you should check your beneficiary designations.

Planning for Pets– Sadly many animals end up in shelters because their owners died. A way to avoid this unfortunate situation is for owners to make provisions for their pets by doing estate planning.  The planning and language can be very simple, and may just entail a paragraph within a will leaving the pet to whomever you choose and money to care for the pet.  While I know pets are considered a part of the family, the law by and large deems pets as property, so estate planning can help to ensure that your pet will end up with someone you trust to care and love for your four-legged family member.  

Please note this is a general information, so if you do have any questions or concerns, you should consult an attorney.