Articles Tagged with Beneficiary Designation

6.7.19Asset titling is the sticking point, where many estate plans fail. The best plan can be undone, if assets are not retitled or accounts are not funded.

Retitling assets means just that—changing the name of the asset, whether it’s a deed to a home or a name of an insurance policy. If assets are not retitled to conform to the estate plan, they won’t be protected or won’t be distributed as you and your estate attorney had planned.

Forbes’ recent article, “For Estate Plan To Work As Intended, Assets Must Be Properly Titled” notes that with the exception of the choice of potential guardians for children, the most important function of a will is to make certain that the transfer of assets to beneficiaries is the way you intended.

4.4.18Remember to update your estate plan, especially if your life includes events like new kids, a new marriage or the death of a loved one.

If you love your family, you’ll keep them in mind when considering whether to make an appointment to update your estate, as you go through the inevitable changes of life. Not doing so can create financial and emotional burdens. That’s probably not how you want to be remembered.

According to a recent Newsday article, “Make sure your estate plan keeps up with life changes, experts say,” estate planning may seem overwhelming and depressing because it deals with issues of aging.  Some people believe that estate planning is just for the very rich.

8.16.16The old adage is right—a second marriage is indeed the triumph of hope over experience. Add estate planning to keep that hope—and peace in the family—intact.

It’s a delicate balance to hold: preserving assets for children from a first marriage and—at the same time—ensuring that your new spouse will have the assets needed to maintain his or her life in comfort. Balancing the two often requires coming to terms with realistic expectations for all.

CNBC’s article, “Getting remarried? Protect your assets and your interests,” recommends looking ahead and addressing questions about your goals, how your existing family and new spouse will relate to one another when you're gone and who will be in charge of the money. The big issue that heirs of a remarrying couple need to worry about more than federal estate tax is the new spouse.

Man at computerFor many Americans, the majority of non-real estate assets are their retirement accounts and life insurance policies. However, a large number of people forget to update their designated beneficiaries, which can lead to key assets going to unintended beneficiaries. An unusual fact pattern cited here reminds us of the importance of keeping beneficiary designations up-to-date.

Like millions of hardworking Americans, Austin Hardy's employer managed his retirement plan. Hardy may have been absent on the date that the HR department explained the importance of naming a death beneficiary for his plan; he either forgot or neglected to designate a beneficiary.

When he passed away, Hardy’s employer did the right thing: it followed the default rules of the plan. Those rules stated that if no surviving spouse or partner existed, then the plan should pass to a surviving child, whether biological or adopted.

Wills-trust-estates-bank-beneficiary-trust-trusteesWe say it over and over again. Check your beneficiary forms! Don't let your retirement funds go down the drain.

Anything involving the court system is rarely quick and painless (probate anyone?). Fortunately, IRAs can easily be transferred to your loved ones outside of probate simply by completing a beneficiary designation form. But what if there was no beneficiary designation form completed? Uh-oh, what now?

The slightly messy situation of an IRA left without a beneficiary was tackled recently by Ed Slott’s blog, The Slott Report. The article, titled “There is No Beneficiary on the Retirement Account: Now What?,” is the perfect encouragement to ensure that every beneficiary form is filled out and up to date.

MP900289434If your beneficiaries are out-of-date, when you die, your assets could go [to] the wrong people – a former spouse, for example – no matter what your will says.

Often, the biggest mistakes we can make when it comes to our estate planning are also some of the easiest to prevent. For example, the consequences of failing to update your beneficiary designations can be catastrophic, while the “fix” is as easy as a phone call or completing a paper (or online) form.

A recent Forbes article titled “The Big Estate-Planning Goof You May Be Making” puts the importance of proper beneficiary designations in perspective.

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A will may say to divide an estate equally among three children. But if a particular account is titled to pass to just one, only that beneficiary will get the account.

Your Last Will and Testament is the legal document to put your wishes in writing and get it all straight, right? Not necessarily.

The key to the disposition of your estate is how your assets are “titled” and how the beneficiaries are designated.

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