FAQs About Wills

Is There A Difference Between A Beneficiary And An Heir?

by Rania Combs

The words “Beneficiary” and “Heir” are often used interchangeably, but each word has a very specific legal definition.

A beneficiary is someone who benefits from the transfer of property, such as by a Will or a Trust. A beneficiary can even be the person who transfers the property. For example, in the case of a Revocable Trust, the grantor (the person who creates the trust and transfers the property to the Trust) is also the beneficiary.

An heir, on the other hand, is a person who inherits when there is no Will or Trust by virtue of a state’s intestacy laws. Each state has specific rules regarding how property will pass if you die without a Will. For example, in Texas, many factors, such as whether you are a parent, are married or single, and how your property is characterized, will dictate who will inherit your property when you die.

If you don’t have a Will or Trust and would like to know who your legal heirs are, read: Dying Without a Will: The Texas Intestacy Statutes.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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