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Difference's between an Heir and a beneficiary

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Difference's between an Heir and a beneficiary

Old 12-12-2019, 05:26 PM
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Default Difference's between an Heir and a beneficiary

My wifes aunt passed a few years back and she did have a will. Unbeknownst to my wife she was named an heir in the will along with a few other family members. There were also a few designated as heir/beneficiary. We just received a letter that all assets were divided and distributed to only those listed as heir/beneficiary. Nothing went to those listed as heirs. Does not sound right to me, but I am ignorant to the terms and legal jargon. I guess my point is why even go through the trouble of listing heirs if they don't get anything anyways?
Old 12-12-2019, 05:31 PM
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No lawyer here but I would assume heirs are mentioned so if the inheritance chain breaks down from death ect. there is the next in line.
Old 12-12-2019, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeloew View Post
My wifes aunt passed a few years back and she did have a will. Unbeknownst to my wife she was named an heir in the will along with a few other family members. There were also a few designated as heir/beneficiary. We just received a letter that all assets were divided and distributed to only those listed as heir/beneficiary. Nothing went to those listed as heirs. Does not sound right to me, but I am ignorant to the terms and legal jargon. I guess my point is why even go through the trouble of listing heirs if they don't get anything anyways?
So no claim of omission can prevail.
Old 12-12-2019, 05:35 PM
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Heir = next of kin/relative of some sort
Beneficiary = gets the cash
Old 12-12-2019, 05:36 PM
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They may have named heirs as a way to help avoid lawsuits. In some cases, an heir might be left $1.00 so they can’t claim they have been forgotten and are entitled to an inheritance.

Have you read a copy of the will?
Old 12-12-2019, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MistaBobDobalina View Post
Heir = next of kin/relative of some sort
Beneficiary = gets the cash
LOL that spells it out. Thumbs up
Old 12-12-2019, 05:38 PM
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My Aunt died about a year ago. She never married and didn't have any kids.

I got a letter from the estate's lawyer informing me that I was an heir (blood relative), but not a beneficiary (her will said the estate was designated to one person, not me)
Old 12-12-2019, 05:40 PM
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Stole this info from the Internet:

Who Is An Heir?

An heir is a relative who is legally entitled to an inheritance from a deceased relative's estate when the decedent did not have a legal last will and testament.

When there's no will, which is called "dying intestate," an estate typically passes to the closest living relatives in prescribed shares, then to more distant relatives if close relatives are not living. While a surviving spouse is not an heir in the strict definition of the word, a spouse or registered domestic partner is typically first in line for assets through a state's marital or community property laws.

Assets pass first to a living spouse and/or immediate descendants (children and/or grandchildren, biological as well as adopted). If they're not living, then to parents, and if they're not living, to descendants of grandparents (aunts, uncles, and cousins). If all heirs are deceased, then the assets of the estate pass to the state, which is called escheatment.

Who gets how much is determined by each state's particular intestate succession laws, which are blueprints for how an estate will be divided if a person dies without a valid will in place. It's the probate court's job to make sure the net assets of the estate pass to the people who are legally entitled to them.

Who is not an heir? An unmarried partner, no matter the length of the relationship, would not be considered an heir. Neither would close friends, stepchildren, in-laws, legally divorced spouses, foster children, or a charity. This is one reason why it's so important to make sure you have a legal last will and testament if you wish to leave your estate to someone who is not considered a legal heir.

Who Is A Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is a someone named in a decedent's will, trust, life insurance policy, and/or financial account who has been selected to receive the assets.

A beneficiary need not be an heir: a friend, a long-term partner, a stepchild, or a charity can be a beneficiary. Even a pet can be a beneficiary! And while heirs can be beneficiaries, it's not always a given they'll inherit. Take, for examples, parents who leave the bulk of their estates to romantic partners instead of their living children or grandparents who cut wayward grandchildren out their wills.

To make matters more interesting: while a last will and testament provides direction for how the decedent wants their assets distributed, it doesn't necessarily determine who will inherit the assets because they're often passed on through a beneficiary designation at a credit union, bank, insurance company, or other financial institution.

For example, a will may direct financial accounts to be divided evenly between two children, but if all beneficiary designations for all these accounts are in the decedent's ex-spouse's name, that ex-spouse is entitled to the assets. The children won't get anything, unless there are accounts in the estate with no beneficiary designations; then the children would be entitled to those assets.

It's important to remember: Beneficiary designations trump wills!
Old 12-12-2019, 06:17 PM
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So I guess the old saying, he was an heir to the family fortune is a misnomer. It should be, He was a beneficiary to the family fortune.
Old 12-12-2019, 06:25 PM
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Sounds like you're just splitting heirs.
Old 12-12-2019, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by LWLoadie View Post
Sounds like you're just splitting heirs.
you should give him the beneficiary of a doubt.
Old 12-12-2019, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by LWLoadie View Post
Sounds like you're just splitting heirs.
Originally Posted by AsurfAholic View Post
you should give him the beneficiary of a doubt.
Old 12-12-2019, 07:42 PM
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Between posts 10 and 11, put a fork in it; this thread is done cooking...
Old 12-12-2019, 08:39 PM
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I've never had a garbanzo bean on my face.
Old 12-12-2019, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeloew View Post
So I guess the old saying, he was an heir to the family fortune is a misnomer. It should be, He was a beneficiary to the family fortune.
He is beneficiary to the family fortune if there is a Will in which he is bequeathed the family fortune.

If there is not a Will, he is the heir to the family fortune.
Old 12-12-2019, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mikeloew View Post
... why even go through the trouble of listing heirs if they don't get anything anyways?
It's a matter of due process. Heirs are entitled to the notice of death. Just because someone else has beat them to the punch, and offered a will for probate (listing themselves as a beneficiary) doesn't mean that the will is valid. There may be a more recent will which would take precedence over the first one filed in the race to the courthouse. So too, heirs may have information which would invalidate the will, even if it was the most recent (perhaps written on the day of death). Those are situations where issues of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity are often raised by the heirs.

It ain't over 'til it's over.

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