Denver, CO asked in Estate Planning for Colorado

Q: I want a beneficiary in my will to be anonymous on paper. The executor will know who they are. Can I do that?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin Michael Strait
Kevin Michael Strait
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Your goal to create an anonymous beneficiary is more common that you might think. This is not legal advice specific to your situation, but is instead a general answer to your question and point you may wish to consider with your attorney. One way to keep a gift private is to use a Trust, and another common way is to use a life insurance policy, but your question specifically asks how to make a private gift in a Will. You also didn't mention if the gift you plan to make is cash or some kind of property, like real estate or personal property.

Before dedicating yourself to reaching your goals in a Will, talk to your attorney about using a Trust or using life insurance.

Using only a Will, it is possible to give the gift to the executor of your estate then make a separate arrangement for the executor to transfer the property to your anonymous beneficiary. There may be some tax and title situations that add cost, create delays, or add complexity. Also, you will have to trust your executor to act as instructed because the usual mechanism of accountability, the Will itself, does not reveal your intentions under this approach.

Talk with your attorney about the options, and consider placing your trust in your executor for a private arrangement.

Rebecca Pescador agrees with this answer

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