Many people nominate beneficiaries for their accounts, insurance policies, and real estate without an official Last Will and Testament. Rather than the heirs or beneficiaries named in a trust or will, ownership of these assets passes to the designated recipient upon death. Legally, they are called “non-probate assets” since they are not subject to probate.
To the named estate beneficiaries, discovering that a decedent had assets that were not probated but legally belonged to them is usually shocking news. Conflicts are not uncommon.
The following are examples of claims brought against non-probate assets and the people who receive them:
- The “suspicious gifts” are given by an individual before the deceased’s death, usually to close relatives or strangers.
- Transfers of monies, ownership changes, and similar transactions are performed by someone who is not the owner.
- Changes are made to beneficiaries of life insurance policies, bank accounts, CDs, bonds, IRAs, and other investments so that a full or partial amount of the assets is transferred to a beneficiary unnamed in the Will or trust;
- Tortious interference with an inheritance refers to the situation in which the intended beneficiary cannot be granted all or a portion of the estate or receives a disproportionately small inheritance.
Are you dealing with New Jersey estate disputes and would like competent legal advice? Scott Counsel can help you restore your legal rights and organize the person’s affairs, whether it is due to a health crisis or to address estate planning issues.
What Are My Beneficiary Rights as a Will Recipient?
Certain rights are granted to you as an estate beneficiary. Understanding your beneficiary rights is the first step toward receiving the inheritance to which you are entitled. There is no point in waiting around. Instead, take control of the situation by learning your beneficiary rights and enforcing them throughout the administration process.
Having been nominated as a beneficiary of an estate, you may wonder: What rights do I have?
Is it legal to see a copy of the Will? Do I have a right to ask the executor for information concerning the estate? Do I have the authority to remove the executor if they misbehave?
The answer to all of these questions is yes. Beneficiaries of an estate have crucial rights to protect not just their inheritance from fraud but also to ensure that the estate’s value will not be diminished.