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Choosing your heirs? Think carefully

You've been thinking about building your estate plan, but before you can assign any assets, you'll need to choose your heirs and beneficiaries.

It can be hard to choose heirs, especially if you don't have children or family you're close to. If you have many nieces or nephews, close friends or colleagues, then you may want to leave some assets to those beneficiaries.

Before you choose your heirs, there are a few things that you should do. Some steps to follow include:

  • Meeting with an attorney to plan the estate so that you can build a will
  • Talking about your intentions with the potential heirs or beneficiaries. Ask them how they will feel about receiving certain property or assets. This will give you an opportunity to understand how leaving those assets to the people you have in mind will affect them and others.
  • Consider being fair if you have relatives or close friends that you'll leave assets to. You will want to do what you can to minimize upset, so consider carefully how you'll divide assets in a way that is understandable and doesn't blindside anyone.
  • Finally, think about leaving a letter or video with the will so that you can explain your actions even after you pass. This can help settle down those who are hurt or angry.

Taking steps like these can help minimize the risk of upset when you leave behind assets to beneficiaries, and it can help you think about who you really want to have inheriting your assets. Your attorney can help you with your will and asset distribution once you decide on your heirs.

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