When was the last time you reviewed the beneficiaries on your accounts? Time goes by quickly and, as they say, “life happens.” Things change in your life and because you are so busy, there’s a tendency to put it at the bottom of your To-Do list or even forget about it altogether.
You may understand that you can designate a beneficiary for your life insurance and retirement accounts, but do you know and understand that the beneficiary designation form controls those assets absolutely? This means the person(s) who you designate as your beneficiary(ies) will receive the asset, regardless of how long it has been since you designated them, what your current intentions are, or even what your Will or Trust may say.
That is why your estate plan should be reviewed at least every three to five years.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long without reviewing or updating your choices. Events like a change in your health, the death of a primary beneficiary, marriage, or divorce may make your beneficiary designation obsolete. There could even be a change in your family dynamic or your charitable contributions that may warrant a review.
You may have many accounts that require the designation of beneficiaries, from insurance policies to bank accounts to retirement plans. If you have a Trust in place, it can be named as the beneficiary when that decision is best suited to meet your goals.
You don’t have to feel overwhelmed about completing this task. At 417 Business & Elder Law & 417 Elder Law, we assist you in reviewing your beneficiary designations to ensure they are consistent with your estate planning goals and structured to avoid probate.
During your beneficiary check-up, it’s a good time to review and update other documents such as Wills, Trusts, real estate titles, business ownership agreements, and power of attorney forms.
Regular review of your beneficiary designations and legal documents helps to ensure that your assets will transfer to your heirs the way you intend.
This article was also published in the printed version of the Volume 4 Jul-Sep 2016 Newsletter (PDF).
Please call our office at (417) 887-4170 if you have any questions about this article or would like to receive our mailed newsletter.