people talking with an attorney

When it comes to understanding the differences between heir and beneficiary, it can be difficult to keep track of all the legal jargon. 

What is the difference between Heirs and Beneficiaries? 

To put it simply, heirs are someone who is legally entitled to inherit property or money from a deceased person. Beneficiaries, on the other hand, are people who will receive benefits from a trust, will, or insurance policy when the person who created it passes away. Heirs are related to the deceased person by blood or marriage, so they are usually the spouse, children, or other family members. Beneficiaries, however, can be anyone the deceased person chooses. This could include a friend, a charity, or even a business. Heirs are typically entitled to a share of the deceased person’s estate, while beneficiaries may receive specific items, such as cash, investments, or other property. 

Another key difference is that heirs must go through a legal process called probate in order to receive their inheritance, while beneficiaries do not. In most cases, the beneficiaries will receive their inheritance directly from the executor of the estate. In addition, beneficiaries may have certain rights and privileges that heirs do not, such as the right to challenge the will or trust in court. 

In summary, heirs and beneficiaries are two different legal terms that refer to two different types of individuals. Heirs are family members who are legally entitled to inherit property or money from a deceased person, while beneficiaries are people who will receive specific items, such as cash, investments, or other property, from a trust, will, or insurance policy. Beneficiaries may not need to go through probate, and they may have additional rights that heirs do not.

How Can We Help with the Probate Process in the Milwaukee Area?

The probate process can be stressful on its own – even without grief at the loss of a loved one – which makes it difficult to navigate the legalities of probate. We can help at Kingstad Law Firm, LLC and will perform an after-death consultation with our legal team as needed. We are happy to represent you in Formal Probate proceedings and will use more than 40 years in the courtroom to help you navigate the Informal Probate process. Let us help you find, assess and distribute any assets included in the estate when it is in probate.