Estate planning is not just for the rich. Regardless of your level of wealth, there is one estate planning move that applies to everyone: checking the beneficiary designations for your life insurance policies, bank accounts, brokerage firm accounts, retirement accounts and other assets. Beneficiaries need to be designated and up-to-date at all times, and there are plenty of horror stories to tell you why.
Double checking your designations at least once a year or whenever significant life changes occur can help keep your assets protected.
- Revisit beneficiaries as life events unfold, not just when marriage-related changes occur.
- Don't depend on your will or living trust document to override outdated beneficiary designations.
- Consider designating secondary beneficiaries if you’re married.
- Submit beneficiary forms to avoid probate.
The Weaver newsletter article Estate Planning: Check Your Beneficiary Designations analyzes real-life examples, provides a beneficiary checklist for your review, and offers a few additional tips and pointers along the way.
Don’t wait. Update your beneficiary designations sooner than later.