When handling your estate planning affairs, it can be easy to forget to check your beneficiary designations. You may have designated beneficiaries for your retirement account and life insurance policies a long time ago. Do you know who will be getting these assets after your death? Take a look at the following information to better understand this planning need. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to review your beneficiary designations, contact an estate planning attorney.
When was the last time that you thought about your beneficiary designations for these accounts? Chances are it’s been a long time. If you don’t make updates with the required forms, your current wishes may not be respected. This may means that the wrong people will receive your assets after your death. Ex-spouses inheriting large sums happens more often than you might think.
Updating is very easy. All you need to do is request a beneficiary designation form from the institution that holds your asset. In some cases, you may even be able to print a new form online or actually make beneficiary changes directly on a company’s website. This makes it easy for you to change your beneficiaries in just a matter of minutes. Once your updated form is received, your changes will normally be treated as made. However, you should confirm that with the company in question.
Take care to ensure that other aspects of your estate plan are updated. Updates mean a current plan is in place. If you have any questions about whether changes need to be made, speak with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney. Your attorney can walk you through a review so that you can make sure that you have the best plan.
Naming a Trust as a Beneficiary. Whether or not to a name a living trust as a beneficiary can be a difficult decision but in many cases it is an important decision as it can have significant consequences. Depending on the amount of the account (e.g., insurance, annuity, retirement account), the language in the trust documents dealing with such accounts and the particular characteristics of the intended beneficiaries (e.g., minors, special needs, spendthrifts, etc.), naming a trust as a beneficiary may be a good or bad idea. It also depends on the provisions of the trust document as to how it treats assets transferred to it via beneficiary designation accounts. For this reason, it is critical to get sound advice of a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney.
Don’t forget about updating your beneficiary designations as part of your, overall, estate plan updating. You can have complete control over your entire estate plan, if you keep it updated. If you have any questions about updating beneficiaries or updating other parts of your estate plan, consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.