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It's Time to Designate Beneficiaries

Beneficiary Designations Forms are an excellent tool for planning purposes. These simple documents allow for accounts to be transferred without the need of a drawn-out probate administration. Beneficiary designation forms are typically available for retirement plans and life insurance policies.

Have you updated your beneficiary designations forms recently or checked to make sure they list the correct beneficiaries? Because beneficiary designations are usually setup at the outset of a new policy or new account, they are often out of sight and out of mind years later. The estate planning process is excellent time to review and make appropriate adjustments to the designations. At times it may even be appropriate to list a revocable trust as a contingent beneficiary on the forms.

State laws allow for some protections when life circumstances change, and beneficiary designations are not adjusted. But, this is not true of all circumstances. There may be practical reasons to change these designations, such as children that have reached adulthood, or maybe your wishes have changed. Often, we think to amend our wills or trusts when life changes; but, we forget about changing our beneficiary designations.

The time it takes to review a beneficiary designation is well worth the time and money saved from avoiding probate or an undesired beneficiary.