Thoughtful Gifts: Using Beneficiary Planning to Take Care of Loved Ones

Estate planning is about taking care of those you love. So doesn’t it make sense to consider what they might need? That’s the idea behind “beneficiary planning”—an approach to estate planning that considers the individual needs and situation of each beneficiary.

Beneficiary planning helps you create an estate plan that addresses the real needs and concerns of your loved ones. Your family members aren’t identical. Some beneficiaries might have more expenses, such as long-term healthcare costs or higher education costs. Others might have independent sources of income and need less financial help.

In addition to just considering the relative health, education and other sources of wealth each of your beneficiaries has, here’s a list of things to consider before you start planning:

  • Do any of your beneficiaries need protection from creditors and how much protection do they need?
  • What might happen if any of your children get married, divorced or remarried? Along those same lines, what might happen if your spouse remarries and/or gets divorced?
  • What are your children’s individual educational needs or plans?
  • How well do your beneficiaries handle money matters? Do some of them spend more than they should?
  • Do your children have or plan to have children of their own who will need support?

Just as a “one size fits all” approach to estate planning can’t really address your personal goals and concerns, a “one size fits all” approach to providing for your beneficiaries can’t really address their needs. Beneficiary planning can help you make the most of estate planning by providing for your loved ones the way they need.

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