Remote Contingent BeneficiaryRemote Contingent Beneficiary. It’s a term that’s used in wills, but probably not used very often in your day-to-day life. Well, maybe it is if you work in a legal office or you hang out with estate planning lawyers. But when clients review the first drafts of their wills from my office, this provision causes a common question: What is it? Most clients have spent some time thinking about where they want their estate to go. They’ve got their kids named. Maybe some siblings as well, just in case. But what happens if all of those people you’ve named are unable to inherit from you when you die? Then your executor or personal representative has to figure out where your estate goes. And the next step is to look at the “Remote Contingent Beneficiary” provision in your will to answer that question.

What is a Remote Contingent Beneficiary?

In its simplest form, it’s where your estate goes if all of the people you’ve named in your will are no longer living at your death. (In lawyer language, they “predeceased” you). It’s called “remote” because it tends to be highly unlikely. Between children and other family members that you may name in your will, getting to these remote beneficiaries is not all that common. But, it’s a good idea to plan for them anyway. Because you never know (and you don’t want your legacy to be a case in a law school textbook where all the students are shaking their heads and wondering why you would go through all the trouble of creating an estate plan but never get around to naming remote contingent beneficiaries.

Who Should Be My Remote Contingent Beneficiaries?

Another common question is: Who should I choose? As with the rest of your estate plan documents, this is a personal choice for you. Maybe you have some distant relatives that you can think of? Or perhaps you have some other friends who you would like to help out after you’re gone? One common choice with my clients is to choose a charity (or multiple charities) as their remote contingent beneficiaries.

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Next Steps

If you created your will but didn’t add any remote contingent beneficiaries (especially if you did it with an online website) then now is the perfect time to make sure you’ve got the right provisions. And if you think that things have changed in life and you may want to update your will as well, call my office to set up a Legal Strategy Session and we can review the best options for you – (877) AMAYERS.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.