A Checklist Can Make Estate Planning Easier

Dec 11, 2018 | Beneficiary, Estate Planning, Insurance, Retirement


Beneficiary designations are one of the keys to making estate planning easier.

Estate planning can become easier, if you follow a checklist, plan carefully and focus on beneficiary designations, according to InsuranceNewsNet.com in “A simple way to simplify estate planning.”





Beneficiary designations are primarily used on the following types of accounts:

  • Employer-sponsored retirement plans, like 401(k)s
  • IRAs
  • Life insurance policies
  • Annuities
  • Transfer on death investment accounts
  • Pay-on-death bank accounts
  • Stock options
  • Executive deferred compensation plans

Making sure to keep track of the person who has been named the beneficiary and keeping that information up to date is extremely important. It’s not always done correctly. The consequences of having the wrong person named on the asset can be infuriating and, unfortunately, permanent.

The importance of the beneficiary designation means you’ll want to:

  • Remember who you have named a beneficiary of what account. People usually name their spouse as a primary and a child as a contingent. If you only have a primary, consider a charity that has meaning to you as the contingent beneficiary.
  • Update your beneficiary designations, as life events occur. That includes births, deaths, marriages, divorces, etc.
  • Read the instructions on the beneficiary designation. Not all forms are alike.
  • Don’t name your estate as a beneficiary.
  • Understand the tax implications of naming the beneficiaries. Not every asset has the same tax treatment.

An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and aligns your estate plan and beneficiary designations.

Reference: InsuranceNewsNet.com (Nov. 2, 2018) “A simple way to simplify estate planning”