Have You Planned for Second Level Beneficiaries?

It can seem very simple to broach the subject of estate planning for couples with no children. In fact, many assume there is no need for a will at all or only use a simple will that doesn’t consider all of their estate planning intentions and possibilities.

It’s important to ensure that any wishes you do have around the estate planning process are documented properly in a will and that your property can be distributed in the way in which you intend in the future. This involves planning for the second level of beneficiaries.

Many couples, especially those without children will look at estate planning on its face level as a purpose for liability planning in the event that both parties were to pass away. Although this does occasionally happen, couples rarely die at the same time. The first spouse’s death usually triggers a series of complex concerns when estate planning issues have not been done, such as transferring assets outside of payable on death accounts or jointly held assets.

Those assets will transfer automatically to the surviving spouse if that is who is named on them without ever requiring a will to be filed in probate court. However, what happens to the beneficiaries who will receive property upon the death of the survivor?

These are known as second level beneficiaries and it is important to think about how these issues could impact your spouse’s intended beneficiaries if you were to pass away first or your own beneficiaries if your spouse passes away first. For more support with the estate planning process, schedule a consultation with an attorney today. When you discuss your opportunities with a Pasadena estate planning lawyer, this is the first step towards documenting the personalized plan for your future.


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