Articles Tagged with Beneficiary Designations

2.28.20Many people have tens of thousands–even hundreds of thousands–of dollars in their IRAs. If you have an asset that large, shouldn’t you devote more effort to planning for its ultimate disposition?

A designated beneficiary is named on a life insurance policy or some type of investment account as the individual(s) who will receive those assets, in the event of the account holder’s death. The beneficiary designation doesn’t replace a signed will but takes precedence over any instructions about these accounts in a will. If the decedent doesn’t have a will, the beneficiary may see a long delay in the probate court.

If you’ve done your estate planning, most likely you’ve spent a fair amount of time on the creation of your will. You’ve discussed the terms with an established estate planning attorney and reviewed the document before signing it.

2.27.20It's never too early to start estate planning. If you already have a family, getting your personal affairs in order is a must. The sooner you start planning, the more prepared you will be for life's unexpected twists and turns.

Estate planning is a crucial process for everyone, no matter what assets you have now. If you want your family to be able to deal with your affairs, debts included, drafting an estate plan is critical, says Wealth Advisor’s recent article entitled “Estate planning for those 40 and under.”

If you have young children, or other dependents, planning is vitally important. The less you have, the more important your plan is, so it can provide as long as possible and in the best way for those most important to you. You can’t afford to make a mistake.

1.26.20Some people think once the children are all grown up, with spouses and children of their own, that they don’t need life insurance. However, it can play a valuable role in protecting the family and transferring wealth.

With estate tax exclusions at levels that make them a non-issue for most Americans, the practice of purchasing second-to-die life insurance policies to prepare for estate tax costs has faded.

However, IRAs, 401(k)s, and other accounts are still 100% taxable to the individuals, spouses and their children. The stretch IRA options still exist, but they may go away, as Congress may limit stretch IRAs to a maximum of 10 years.

1.23.20If you pass away without naming beneficiaries in your will, it can create legal entanglements for your heirs.

If you decide to purchase a life insurance policy or to put some money into a new deferred annuity contract or Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you need to complete the beneficiary form.

However, Investopedia’s recent article entitled “Why Your Will Should Name Designated Beneficiaries” says that you may just name a person as a beneficiary, without fully appreciating this aspect of your estate planning.

1.17.20“Five of the most common mistakes are easy to avoid with the right information and support, as well as a little creativity.”

Because estate planning has plenty of legal jargon, it can make some people think twice about planning their estates, especially people who believe that they have too little property to bother with this important task.

Comstock’s Magazine’s recent article entitled “Five Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Estate” warns that without planning, even small estates under a certain dollar amount (which can pass without probate, according the probate laws in some states) may cause headaches for heirs and family members. Here are some big mistakes you can avoid with the help of an experienced Houston estate planning attorney:

12.11.19Once you understand what a will can do, the reason that everyone needs one becomes a lot clearer, especially if you have any minor children or any assets.

A will is a legal document used to provide clear and binding instructions on how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. Everyone should have a will, because they can also be used to identify a person who you want to handle your property, known as the executor and who should be the guardian of your minor children, if both parents die.

Yahoo Finance’s article, “What Does a Last Will and Testament Actually Do?” explains that a last will and testament has instructions for what you want to happen with your assets. A will also designates an executor, names beneficiaries and more. You should work with a qualified estate planning lawyer, when preparing one.

11.27.19Estate planning is even more important for individuals and couples without children. Without an estate plan, your assets may go to long-lost relatives you’ve never met. You also need to plan for incapacity, especially if there are no living relatives.

While your legacy may be different if you don’t have children, you still need to have an estate plan.

Motley Fool’s article, “5 Estate-Planning Tips for Child-Free Couples,” suggests that you may want to leave some of your money to friends, family members, charitable organizations, or your college. No matter the beneficiaries you choose, these estate planning tips are vital for childless couples.

10.18.19An IRA is one of the most popular ways to save for retirement. The possibility, however small, does exist that you will pass before using the entire IRA. How do you decide who to leave your IRA to?

In addition to leaving assets, including IRAs and 401(k)s, to heirs, you can also leave assets to a trust. When you first open an IRA, you are asked to designate a beneficiary. However, over time you may find yourself wanting to change that designation. You may also be doing sophisticated estate planning that involves having a trust as the beneficiary for your IRA.

KTVA.com’s recent article, “How to Name a Trust as Beneficiary of an IRA,” discusses some of the important elements of naming a trust as an IRA beneficiary. Naming a trust as a beneficiary requires careful planning, so work with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Life insurance is a financial tool that can be as powerful during retirement, as it is during your working life. In many cases, it can be a real lifesaver for a surviving spouse.

Most of us think about life insurance as income replacement for a breadwinner’s salary. That is certainly true. However, life insurance doesn’t stop being useful during the later years, says Kiplinger in a recent article, “Don't Overlook Advantages of Making Insurance Part of Your Retirement Plan.”

The income replaceme 6.17.19nt function doesn’t go away during retirement. It might even be more important.

8.2.19Yes, it is old-school, but if your family is on the traditional side, headed up by a breadwinner dad who runs the finances, then you need to make plans to ensure that your family will be okay, if something should happen to you.

This advice also applies to mothers who are the main breadwinners and run their family’s finances, even though the title of this Forbes article is “How Fathers Can Make Sure Their Families Are Financially Protected.”

Do you have enough life insurance? Be sure you’re adequately insured, so your family won’t struggle to pay the bills without your income. Many employees only have enough life insurance from work to cover a year’s worth of salary, which may be enough for some families. However, if your spouse can't make the mortgage payment on their own, and if they would be unwilling or unable to sell the home, you might want to at least make sure you have enough life insurance to pay off the mortgage. Once you know how much you need, buy a low-cost term policy for the maximum length of time you might need the coverage.

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