It is vitally important to regularly review and update beneficiaries on your accounts and your estate planning. Assets such as retirement accounts (IRAs, 401Ks, 403Bs), annuities, and life insurance contain beneficiary designations. I recommend verifying these designations on a yearly basis as many things may change that affect these designations. For instance, as companies merge, it is a good idea to ensure that the “new” company has the correct beneficiary designations on file. When there is a life change such as the loss of a family member, beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, annuities, and life insurance should all be updated to reflect the change. Depending on the wording of the beneficiary form, you may or may not agree where the company assumes you want a deceased family member’s share of your asset to go upon your death. To ensure your assets go where you want, it is your responsibility to update the documents whenever needed.
The beneficiary designation on an asset supersedes any estate planning documents you have in place. Thus, if you name all of your kids as equal beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, it does not matter that you excluded one or all of them in your Last Will or Trust. The fact that you intended someone else to inherit that asset does not matter, as the designation on the life insurance policy is what determines who receives the asset. However, if you name your Revocable Living Trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, the terms of your trust dictate who will receive the proceeds and when they receive it.
Planning your estate, no matter the size, is not something to be taken lightly. Take the time to speak with a qualified estate planning attorney to ensure your wishes will be fulfilled upon your passing.
For more information or to schedule your free consultation, contact MH today at 888.222.1328!
Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall? First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters. Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones. We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership. If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.