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Your Rights as a Beneficiary

We Prioritize the Unique Needs of Our Clients

Being named as a beneficiary of a will is exciting, because this means that you are entitled to certain assets and pieces of inheritance from a deceased individual's estate. On the same token, administering an estate is known for its time-consuming and often aggravating nature. It is important that consult with our Torrance estate planning attorney to understand your rights; our firm can help you avoid getting taken advantage of or losing what you may be entitled to.

What am I entitled to throughout the estate administration process?

Estate administrators, or executors, are required to abide by certain laws which govern how and when the estate gets distributed. Much of your role as a beneficiary is closely related to the executor's responsibilities.

Your rights are encompassed in the following ways:

  • Designation & inheritance: You have the right to know of your role as a beneficiary and the specific assets bequeathed to you. This information should come from the executor.

  • Time limits: While estate administration can be laborious, you are entitled to receive your inheritance within one year of your loved one's passing. If the executor knows that the process may move slower, they are required to notify you.

  • Common knowledge: A majority of the deceased person's will is private to the public, even to beneficiaries. You can request a copy of the will, but you do not have the right to know about other beneficiaries' inheritance.

  • Abatement: An estate undergoes abatement when assets are liquidated to repay certain debts. Because the rights of creditors are prioritized over the rights of beneficiaries, the executor is required to tell you if your inheritance will be liquidated for the purpose of debt repayment.

Protect Your Rights with a Torrance Estate Planning Attorney

Most beneficiaries assume that they have no need for legal representation. After all, the executor will take care of everything in due time, right? While most executors are appointed because of their trustworthiness, you never want to risk losing out on something valuable.

Call our office or come into see us so we can discuss your role and privileges as a beneficiary!

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"The Law Offices of James C. Shields is located in Torrance and proudly serves clients all throughout the South Bay including:

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Law Offices of James C. Shields - Torrance Bankruptcy & Estate Planning Attorney
Located at 21707 Hawthorne Blvd, Suite 204
Torrance, CA 90503.
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