Understanding beneficiaries relating to probate

Many people anticipate receiving something from a loved one's estate after he or she passes. Of course, some people may not know exactly what those bequests are or even what it means to be a beneficiary. When it comes to settling the estate during probate, beneficiaries play an important part.

If an Ohio resident is a named beneficiary, it may mean that he or she is entitled to the assets in a trust or another type of account due to a legal designation made by the account holder before his or her passing. If a person is named the beneficiary of a specific account, like an IRA, that designation allows the assets to avoid going through probate. If someone is named as a beneficiary in a will, the assets will first have to go through the legal process before distribution.

It is also important to note that being a beneficiary does not necessarily mean that a person will receive the assets. The primary beneficiary is first in line to collect the given assets. If for some reason the primary beneficiary cannot or will not do so, the secondary beneficiary, also known as the contingent beneficiary, will be next in line to collect. However, if the primary beneficiary does obtain the assets, the secondary beneficiary may not receive anything relating to that specific account or item.

Being a beneficiary can allow a person to collect valuable or meaningful assets from a loved one's estate. Still, some complications can arise when it comes to ensuring that the right beneficiaries receive the correct assets and that those assets are distributed at the right time during probate. As a result, it may be wise for Ohio beneficiaries to discuss their rights during this process with attorneys.

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