Check Your Beneficiaries

Another quick note this week – but important!

Whatever, whoever you want to call them: Beneficiaries, “Bennys”, Heirs… make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs or in your Will (if you have a Will).*

Inevitably, time flies. Loved ones pass away or important loved ones, well, change. (Think: divorce, relationship changes). On the positive side, new beneficiaries, or heirs, are born or enter the picture! In the busy-ness of life, often the accuracy of beneficiaries goes unchecked.

angelic statue and sunset scenery
NO ONE enjoys talking about their death, but bottom line, after your death, it is too late to change beneficiaries.

First, what is a Beneficiary? A beneficiary is a person or persons who will inherit your saved retirement monies, receive proceeds of an insurance policy, or inherit your belongings upon your death. NO ONE enjoys talking about this subject (except maybe estate attorneys who are highly trained and helpful in talking about these topics). But bottom line, after your death it is too late to make changes.

Here are the more common events that may occur as a wake-up call:

  • Death of a parent, spouse, or other loved family member
  • Divorce
  • New child/niece/nephew is born

Upon each of these events a change to your beneficiary designation may need to be made. An estate attorney is one expert who can assist (for a fee). For investment and retirement accounts or insurance policies a trusted financial adviser (to whom you may already be paying a fee) is an excellent and often easier resource to consult.

Life and family events happen. In the middle of change a “beneficiary designation” may be the last thing on your mind. So, consider this note a friendly reminder to go and check who is the Beneficiary on your IRA, your 401k, and any other financial instruments such as life insurance. It may be recently that you reviewed these things- great! Or it may be years since you last checked – more common. You will be grateful to know that your named beneficiaries are those you mean them to be.

*Please ask me to explain more about when it becomes necessary to have a Last Will & Testament in place.


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