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Another beneficiary situation!
Old 08-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
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Another beneficiary situation!

Have you ever struggled with designating beneficiaries when you have no children? Have for many years lived in a separate country than my siblings. My dh and I have no children and are updating our trusts. There is a possibility there could be a fairly substantial sum in my iras to distribute when the time comes and aside from some charities I am thinking of my nieces and nephews. Unfortunately I do not know them very well and as is natural have more interest in them than they in me. Just recently had a trip to a city back to my home country and arranged to stay extra time to see my brother and adult son..wanted to get to know him a bit. Through a misunderstanding wires got crossed and the meeting time at our hotel was wrong and we missed them and a text message was left that implied that it was all our fault and they had texted several times to confirm and that my brother had driven in 50 miles for the get-together (we did not even know where specifically either lives..never give us an address, but do know where my nephew works). Anyway....we left phone and text messages asking if next day, our last, could work..,and were briefly informed that their work schedule wouldnt permit it..not for before, after work, etc. as we offered. At airport, I did write a text back saying sorry that the confusion caused our not getting together at all, even phone call..all we got was voicemail.. especially as we may not have a chance to get together again. I did wait to reply at my Dh's suggestion so i didnt say anything I would regret later...as I felt a bit sad and even a little angry. Have never heard back anything. I am now having a hard time now getting down to designating these beneficiaries equally...wondered if anyone else has struggled with a similar situation.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:43 PM   #2
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I prefer to leave things to people with whom I feel some sort of connection. If there's more money than such people, charities are next in line.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:45 PM   #3
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they had texted several times to confirm
I know many people love to text message, but it seems like all this could have been easily settled, or fixed once it had started to look messed up, by a simple phone call or two. Texting is a really inferior medium for almost all situations like this.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:49 PM   #4
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Miscommunication and tight schedules didn't help, but recriminations are pointless. Why not phone them and make an attempt to repair the relationship? At least write. If they ignore you, you have your answer.

Like you, I don't have children. I have some relatives that I am reasonably close to, but I don't feel obligated to include them in my estate planning. Those who have made a real difference in the lives of my family have been given gifts already when I inherited from my parents.
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:21 PM   #5
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It is a shame you were not able to meet up with them.

I would still make them beneficiaries for a small amount--it might make you feel better about the mix up, and they are still family. They won't know it's not the bulk of your estate.
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:31 PM   #6
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Like you, I don't have children. I have some relatives that I am reasonably close to, but I don't feel obligated to include them in my estate planning.
This is the situation I am in too. At this point, I feel inclined to leave my estate to charities, but there is still the issue of an executor. Much homework still to be done here.
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:23 PM   #7
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This is the situation I am in too. At this point, I feel inclined to leave my estate to charities, but there is still the issue of an executor. Much homework still to be done here.
An executor has been such a big issue for us....small families with no proximity and friends older..which we wouldnt want to burden. We did ask someone who would have been totally trustworthy..a bit younger friend..but she declined because she had done it for her father and didnt feel she wanted to go thru it again...even though we said estate would pay for attorney to do most of any work, etc. and, of course her compensate her. We were disappointed, but definitely understood. We finally ended up going with our tax acct. - a cpa who is doing this for some clients. We feel he is very honest, etc. ... But as its a trust...he will be on his honor as far as I know! But as a friend said...even if its your own family...there is just no telling!
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Old 08-24-2013, 02:48 PM   #8
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An executor has been such a big issue for us....small families with no proximity and friends older..which we wouldnt want to burden. We did ask someone who would have been totally trustworthy..a bit younger friend..but she declined because she had done it for her father and didnt feel she wanted to go thru it again...even though we said estate would pay for attorney to do most of any work, etc. and, of course her compensate her. We were disappointed, but definitely understood. We finally ended up going with our tax acct. - a cpa who is doing this for some clients. We feel he is very honest, etc. ... But as its a trust...he will be on his honor as far as I know! But as a friend said...even if its your own family...there is just no telling!
Note that you can pick a bank or a trust company as the executor. Typically most wills include that as a last resort clause i.e. the named executor is unavailable or unwilling. If you don't know anyone, then a bank or trust company might be a good choice.
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:05 PM   #9
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We are in a very similar situation, except we all live (geographicly dispersed) in the US. Our siblings are all older, somr FI. Their children are either FI, or currently incarcerated due to substance abuse issues.

Will check out about using some type of service as suggested.

MRG
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:04 PM   #10
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Let me add that a trustee is required to provide an accounting. A bank trustee is a fiduciary, so that in theory at least can be sued, Also a bank wants to continue in the business so that being accused of failing to meet fiduciary duty could result in fewer future trusteeship opportunities, if the community hears of a failure. One might check that the bank or trust company has been in business a while as well. The FDIC for example has the manual that is used to evaluate trust operations on line.
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