Naming Alternate Beneficiaries in Florida Estate Planning Documents

will.jpgAn alternate beneficiary is a person or entity that you name in your Florida Will or Florida Revocable Trust to receive a gift or devise in the event that the direct beneficiary does not outlive you or is not fit to receive the gift because of a legal reason, disclaimer, or other provision in the document that would disqualify them. Many times when an elderly individual makes a Florida Will they assume their demise will be sooner than all of their beneficiaries. It is important to name at least one other person to take in the event a direct beneficiary dies before you. The following is an example what a gift might look like: “I leave to my son Aaron the house but in the event he predeceases me, the house should pass my brother Bob.”
Florida does provide some default language in most cases for close relatives. In Florida close relatives who predecease the person who leaves them something will have the item left to their children in many cases. Since this is not always what is desired or always the case, you should have any documents that are depending on this to be reviewed by an Florida Estate Planning Lawyer who is familiar with the provisions.

Although it is rare to think someone is not fit to take a gift, a child who stands to inherit a large sum of money may not be prepared to receive such a gift. Under this scenario, it would be wise to then name one or more alternate beneficiaries and place a condition on the child’s gift such as: “I give to my son Aaron $1,000 if he has reached the age of 25. In the event he is not yet 15, I leave the $1,000 to my cousin Barbara in trust for my son until he reaches the age of 25.”

Alternate plans can be very complex but should be discussed with a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer. They are not required but are wise in estate planning because in the event the beneficiary predeceases you the gift will pass under a statutory scheme. Naming alternative beneficiaries is essential if you truly desire to have your gifts carried out faithfully.

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