Q: How can I be sure my grandchildren get a certain percentage of my estate?
In my will, my two children will get 95% of my estate, and the remaining 5% will go to my four grandchildren. BUT, all my annuities, bank accounts, CDs, etc are POD to my two children. So how will my grandchildren get anything at all?
A: You can accomplish your goals by hiring an estate planning attorney to help you create a trust-based estate plan in which you designate your percentages. Then transfer all of your accounts to your trust or, for those that can't be transferred, designate your trust as the death beneficiary. That way all of those balances will be added together when you pass and the percentages you designate will apply to the aggregate total. An added benefit of trust-based estate planning is it avoids probate, which your descendants will appreciate. An added benefit of working with an estate planning attorney is the attorney will consider your situation as a whole and recommend other planning devices you should have such as a financial power of attorney, living will, personal care plan, dementia directive, medical power of attorney, and maybe some Medicaid pre-planning if that makes sense for you.
A: They won't. Your will does not control assets with beneficiary designations. You will need to trust your children to follow wishes, or revise your plan to provide for your grandchildren. If you are worried about probate you may want to consider a living trust.
A simple way to accomplish this is to use a testamentary trust. This would take effect at the time of your death and the monies would be paid into this trust that would then be managed by a trustee to make sure that it got to your grandchildren. This trust would then be funded by you out of your will.
The real question is what particular estate items you want to go to your grandchildren.
Depending on their age you could give it to them directly as well.
Spirits estate planning attorney could easily help you with this.
A: As you are aware, any asset with a valid beneficiary will go to the beneficiary when you die. Only assets without beneficiaries, not held jointly, and not in trust will go to probate, where the will controls. One option is to trust your children to give part of their inheritance to their children. Or if your grandchildren are minors, you can set up a 529 savings plan or UTMA account for each of them.
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