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Should I inform beneficiaries or not??
Old 03-20-2013, 12:01 PM   #1
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Should I inform beneficiaries or not??

Hello everyone...I have questions about whether you have informed people/organizations they are designated as beneficiaries of your wills/trusts/iras...an is it a good idea? Background: we have been finally getting our trust/wills done. Have been reading some of past threads of people in similar situation to ours....we have no children, but have pets who will be covered in our trust...by a charity organization in Utah, "Best Friends" who will receive a designated (by them) amount to take and care for our animals. Our houses, contents and vehicles will be left for local charities and our main account with stocks, bonds, etc. has been designated to other charities after our death. We do not have a big family...my DH has a younger brother who lives in another state and all of my family live in Canada. My b.i.l. we do not think is able to handle the duties of trustee after our death so we have had to select outside of family/friends (who all are older)....and have picked our tax accountant. Our challenge, well, mainly my challenge, are the IRA's where the bulk of our assets are. Aside from each other being the primary beneficiary...my DH will leave half of his to charity and the other half to his brother. For me I'm finding it more difficult as I am not close to my family...but do have one brother and some nieces and nephews to whom I would like to leave something with the rest going to charity. I've tried to keep in touch with them...but I think because of distance and age gap...not too successful. The one I knew best, the oldest nephew, as in early days I used to babysit him...now has a young family and neither he nor his wife even acknowledge gifts I've sent or except occasionally return phone calls. I know they are busy, but. Anyway...my big question is .... I need to get the 'social insurance' numbers from them (the Canadian equivalent of social insurance #) to give to Schwab where my IRA is. I wish I didn't have to inform any of them about making them a secondary beneficiary because there may be niltch left by the time of my demise, but supposedly need to get that #. Since I have to..would appreciate your thoughts.... should I tell them all at the same time (ie an email addressed to all) so they all know they are a part of it...or contact them individually. Like many, I feel this whole thing is so uncomfortable to do. Would appreciate any thoughts, advice...etc. BTW...its also uncomfortable knowing your tax accountant at some point has as alot of power that could be misused...he's a good guy...but no wonder they call it Trusts! Thanks for any help!
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:50 PM   #2
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I have been a beneficiary of an estate and there was no need for SIN information until the estate went through probate. Of course YMMV. I would be a little hesitant to disclose my SIN number unless to a person I had a lot of trust in......which I expect is the case here.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:59 PM   #3
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I have been a beneficiary of an estate and there was no need for SIN information until the estate went through probate. Of course YMMV. I would be a little hesitant to disclose my SIN number unless to a person I had a lot of trust in......which I expect is the case here.
In my case...its only the disbursement of the IRA where Schwab is requiring the SIN#....if the $ was in the trust...would not be the case. Thanks for your input!
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:26 PM   #4
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When my dad died, my parent's revokable trust was required to notify the beneficiaries of the existence of the trust. IIRC I received a copy of the trust. My understanding is that this is a national requirement, though it could just be CA I guess. No requirement that I know of before one person dies.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:33 PM   #5
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I believe that in most cases it is a good idea to do so.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:44 PM   #6
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I might be inclined to make a trust the beneficiary of the IRAs (although you sometimes lose out on some beneficial tax treatment here in US) and have the trust distribute to the beneficiaries.

We have a similar situation,but have set aside money for pet care to be handled by our executor and the trustee of the trusts (my bil) as they are primarily for the benefit of young children.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:05 PM   #7
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My sister was trustee/executor when my brother died. Part of her duties was to find assets that weren't part of the trust - like some 401k money and a work provided small life insurance policy. Unfortunately, my brother had never updated these after his divorce... so his ex-wife was still the beneficiary. My sister had the unpleasant experience of being the point of contract with this person - who felt entitled to things NOT left to her by his trust. She was a pest for almost 2 years after his death.

Make sure your beneficiaries are filled out properly.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:19 PM   #8
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I am in a very similar situation. In fact, so similar you sound like a dear friend of mine!

DH and I also have dogs and no close relatives but had to get SSNs from a few for contingent beneficiaries. I just told them I plan to spend every nickel but in case I do not, I would need their SSNs to leave them a little token, sent via any means that made them comfortable.

All quickly complied!
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by itsmyparty View Post
Hello everyone...I have questions about whether you have informed people/organizations they are designated as beneficiaries of your wills/trusts/iras...an is it a good idea? Background: we have been finally getting our trust/wills done. Have been reading some of past threads of people in similar situation to ours....we have no children, but have pets who will be covered in our trust...by a charity organization in Utah, "Best Friends" who will receive a designated (by them) amount to take and care for our animals. Our houses, contents and vehicles will be left for local charities and our main account with stocks, bonds, etc. has been designated to other charities after our death. We do not have a big family...my DH has a younger brother who lives in another state and all of my family live in Canada. My b.i.l. we do not think is able to handle the duties of trustee after our death so we have had to select outside of family/friends (who all are older)....and have picked our tax accountant. Our challenge, well, mainly my challenge, are the IRA's where the bulk of our assets are. Aside from each other being the primary beneficiary...my DH will leave half of his to charity and the other half to his brother. For me I'm finding it more difficult as I am not close to my family...but do have one brother and some nieces and nephews to whom I would like to leave something with the rest going to charity. I've tried to keep in touch with them...but I think because of distance and age gap...not too successful. The one I knew best, the oldest nephew, as in early days I used to babysit him...now has a young family and neither he nor his wife even acknowledge gifts I've sent or except occasionally return phone calls. I know they are busy, but. Anyway...my big question is .... I need to get the 'social insurance' numbers from them (the Canadian equivalent of social insurance #) to give to Schwab where my IRA is. I wish I didn't have to inform any of them about making them a secondary beneficiary because there may be niltch left by the time of my demise, but supposedly need to get that #. Since I have to..would appreciate your thoughts.... should I tell them all at the same time (ie an email addressed to all) so they all know they are a part of it...or contact them individually. Like many, I feel this whole thing is so uncomfortable to do. Would appreciate any thoughts, advice...etc. BTW...its also uncomfortable knowing your tax accountant at some point has as alot of power that could be misused...he's a good guy...but no wonder they call it Trusts! Thanks for any help!
No need to let anyone know. Over time, you and DH may change your minds and your beneficiaries. Then there might be a lot of hard feelings and explaining to do.

Do make sure your wills (and beneficiaries) and executor and trustees are kept up-to-date.

I just spoke to the lawyer who we thought was the executor of the will for a relative who died over 2 years ago. He asked if we had the original will. (No, we only have copies of a will drawn-up 11 years ago and no one seems to know if the original exists. Does that mean he died intestate?)

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:12 PM   #10
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People that are assigned a responsibility should be made aware and agree to what is being asked of them. They should also know the details of funding as it affects them. There is no other reason to make anyone aware of any details, plenty of good reasons to not share any other details with anyone. Just my $0.02
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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Pretty easy for us, DW & I told our 2 sons that everything left gets slit between them, less a few small charity equests. And our plan is to only have the two Roths left and spend down the rest of our assets. Not doing so well at spend down, portfolio at a new high 5 years after retirement despite some withdrawals.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:36 PM   #12
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This is really a tough question because of not knowing how people in trusted positions will handle things. There was a situation here in our town where an upstanding lawyer was the trustee of a 4 million dollar estate. Long story short, he never notified the beneficiaries, took the money for himself as he had gotten himself in financial trouble but thought he could make enough to pay it back, which never happened, and is now in jail at age 86.
Had the deceased notified the beneficiaries that "would" or "might" inherit something, they could have been on the look out. In some cases, it was a college and a local high school that were to receive funds and never did.

Since I think I know what "Can" happen, I plan to let my beneficiaries know they might be left a little something and to make sure they get copies of wills and trusts and accountings at my death at the same time I ask them for their SSN number.

Either that or unless I die suddenly, I might make a copy of the will and trust, stick it in envelopes and have a trusted friend mail them after my death to my beneficiaries...or something along those lines.

So yes, I would try to get their SSN numbers while at the same time making sure they know it may be zero.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:55 PM   #13
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Thank you everyone for your input...I will be asking for the sin# of each relative who is a contingent beneficiary. They will share half and the other half to charities.I am still trying to decide whether to let them all know who is on the list, ie address the request to all in one email or send an individual request. Don't know exactly why I am stressing so much over this...guess its the reason for the request and that I really don't know any of them very well. Thanks again!
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:01 PM   #14
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Thank you everyone for your input...I will be asking for the sin# of each relative who is a contingent beneficiary. They will share half and the other half to charities.I am still trying to decide whether to let them all know who is on the list, ie address the request to all in one email or send an individual request. Don't know exactly why I am stressing so much over this...guess its the reason for the request and that I really don't know any of them very well. Thanks again!
I'd vote for doing it by individual requests. That enables you keep control should you ever want to add or remove a beneficiary, and the beneficiaries won't be able to calculate how much they might be getting, as they won't know who or how many are sharing the proceeds of the estate.

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