Beneficiary Designations


Related to the previous post’s discussion of nonprobate assets, a good estate planning attorney should discuss the client’s beneficiary designations. Most commonly, an individual will have filled out a beneficiary designation form when he or she opens a life insurance policy, retirement account, or investment account.

It is tempting to think that once a beneficiary designation has been made that no further thought need be given to it. Nothing could be further from the truth. As life changes happen – whether marriage, birth, divorce, or death – these beneficiary designations need to change to reflect the new circumstances.

Because these policies and accounts are not governed by a last will and testament, it is easy to inadvertently omit a younger child or grandchild. It is just as easy to leave a former spouse as the primary beneficiary on a policy or account. Imagine an ex-spouse receiving the bulk of your retirement assets simply because you neglected to fill out a change of beneficiary form!

An estate planning attorney will cover beneficiary designations as part of a comprehensive discussion and may also provide assistance in completing necessary change of beneficiary forms.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided "as-is,"' with no warranties or guarantees. This information should not be considered as actual legal, tax or investment advice and you should always contact a certified accountant, a tax professional, or an attorney before making any financial decisions. While every attempt has been made to provide current and accurate information, neither the author nor the publisher can be held accountable for any errors or omissions. The user is solely liable for any and all reliance, use, or action on this information.