Beneficiary Designations

Do each of your bank accounts, retirement accounts and other investment accounts have a designated beneficiary?  Further, are all of your designated beneficiaries consistent with your current estate planning goals?  Now is a great time to review your current beneficiary designations and revise them as needed. 

Failing to designate a beneficiary can cause several issues after you pass away.

The assets in accounts with a properly designated beneficiary should pass easily to the designated beneficiary upon your death.  However, if you pass away without designating a beneficiary, the recipient of the assets will depend upon the type of account, relevant laws, and the policies of the bank or other financial institution that holds the funds.  As a result, the recipient may not be one you would have chosen yourself.  Also, if the funds are transferred to your estate and you do not have a Will, this could create an expensive and time-consuming situation for your heirs.

Failing to change a beneficiary designation, if needed, can cause problems too.

If you previously designated a beneficiary on each of your accounts, but your estate planning goals have recently changed or life events have occurred so that you would like to add or remove a beneficiary, then make it a priority to change the designations as needed.   

In these situations, your Will may need to be changed too, but understand that changing your beneficiaries in your Will does not change the beneficiary designations on your accounts.  Therefore, if you want to make a change to your beneficiary designation, but pass away before making the change, the current designation will control.

Please call us so we can help you develop an estate plan that meets your goals.

The legal information in this blog entry is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  Further, nothing contained in this article is intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader.  This article and website are made available by Waldron & Schneider for educational purposes only and to give basic information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Waldron & Schneider. The article and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. For more information or questions you can contact us and one of our attorneys will be in touch soon.