“You can’t take it with you when you go.” This popular phrase takes on a whole new meaning when you are leaving assets to beneficiaries or when you’ve been designated as a beneficiary to a will or trust. These assets may be valuable heirlooms, sentimental trinkets, or substantial wealth, but in any case, it’s important to account for what is being left behind and designate where it is going.

Have you recently discovered that you have been named as a beneficiary of a will or trust? Curious if this means you must take on any executive role or complete any duties? Continue reading to find out what your role is as a beneficiary.

What is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a person or entity that is designated to inherit some asset or benefit upon someone’s death. This designation is typically made in the terms of a trust, will, or other legal document. Usually, a beneficiary will know they have been named when the document is executed, but that is not always the case. Sometimes a beneficiary is not notified until estate administration begins.

The only role that requires action in the execution and administration of a will or trust is the Executor or Administrator. This person may also be a beneficiary, but if you have only been named as a beneficiary, you do not have any responsibility in the execution of a will or trust.

What Are the Rights of a Beneficiary?

As a beneficiary, your role is only to inherit your intended portion of the will or trust. In a straightforward and standard case, you are not required to take any legal action other than signing a release for receipt of inheritance.

A beneficiary is entitled to receive their inheritance within a reasonable amount of time, usually within a year referred to as the Executor’s Year. If an executor needs more time than this, they can be required to show proof of a verifiable reason.

Beneficiaries are also entitled to receive their share of the estate without payment, fee, or income tax.

Additionally, beneficiaries have a right to view all paperwork and proceedings involving their portion of the inheritance. If a sole beneficiary of a will desires to see the will in its entirety, they may request it, but in most cases it is not legally required.

Need Assistance Understanding Your Role?

Are you still wondering what is the role of a beneficiary? Are you confused by the estate planning or estate execution process? The legal jargon and expectations can be overwhelming when trying to understand it alone. At The Legacy Lawyers, it is our role to help you understand your role as a beneficiary of a will or testator and to help you execute that role. If you need assistance understanding your rights or action steps, give us a call today.