Who can be a beneficiary to your Will?

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In an endless pursuit of happiness, every person works extremely hard all his life to make a decent living and earn enough money to be able to leave sufficient assets for his family. A Will also called a testament, is a legal document that states an individual’s final wishes to distribute his estate. It is legally binding and when registered it makes sure that the individual’s final wishes are carried out.

Most people draft a Will to leave guidelines about what should happen to their property, money and other valuable assets after they die.

The person getting the benefits in terms of money and assets is the beneficiary. And, a beneficiary can be any person selected by the person making the Will. A beneficiary may be the chosen one to enjoy the fruits and benefits resulting from a Will, however, some persons have been given the right to enjoy the benefits of the same automatically.

Assigning a beneficiary is an essential part of building groundwork for the future for both the Will maker and the people associated with him. Although, it is not mandatory, not naming a beneficiary could result in assets passing through the probate process, which could simply result in complicating distribution of assets of the person after his demise. In a probate process, property is distributed as per the inheritance rights among the family members. It is therefore, advisable to have a beneficiary to make sure the benefits are divided and shared properly among the people he wants to transfer a share of the estate. After assigning the beneficiary, it is pertinent that you register your Will.

Family Members
Any family member including spouse, parents, siblings etc. whether living together or separately can be a beneficiary even if families are scattered in different parts of the country however, there is absolutely no limitation on making a family member as a beneficiary no matter where in the world they reside. It is then the responsibility of the executor to trace the beneficiary, and make sure they receive their inheritance as mentioned in the Will.

A child can be a beneficiary in the Will even if the child is a minor, however, the inheritance can only be transferred but cannot directly be received when the child is a minor (under the age of 18 years). For instance, a child when a minor is made a beneficiary will receive the benefits of the same only after he attains the age of 18 years.

A friend can also be a beneficiary as there is no hard and fast rule for the beneficiary to be related in any way. This is a quite common practice these days since, friends are the chosen family and being family is determined by behavior and not by blood.

Apart from this, there is no compulsion for the beneficiary to be an individual but can be an organization, temple, church, charity, school, community group, social group, hospital or even a scholarship to any individual.