Estate planning is an important part of life, and it involves more than just creating a will or trust. It’s also essential to review your beneficiary designations regularly so that the people you have chosen to receive your assets, property, and accounts are up to date. Here’s what you need to know about reviewing beneficiary designations as part of the estate planning process.
What Are Beneficiary Designations?
Beneficiary designations are documents that name who will receive certain assets in the event of death or disability. These assets can include retirement accounts, life insurance policies, bank accounts, and other types of investments. When someone passes away, beneficiary designation forms determine to whom those assets get passed instead of going through probate court.
Why Should You Review Them?
It’s important to review your beneficiary designations periodically. Doing so every 2-3 years ensures they accurately reflect your current wishes. When you pass away, your money goes where you intend for it to go. In addition, if any changes are made to federal or state laws regarding inheritances since your last update (such as changes in the tax code), by reviewing these documents can help make sure everything is still compliant with those laws.
How Do You Review Them?
The first step in reviewing your beneficiary designation forms is gathering all the necessary documents together in one place. This means looking through financial statements and account information from banks, insurance companies, brokerages, and other institutions where you may have set up accounts with designated beneficiaries. Once you’ve gathered all this information together, it’s time for a thorough review of each document so that you can check for accuracy and make any necessary updates or changes. If there are any discrepancies between what is listed on the form and what exists in reality (for example, a beneficiary has died), then these should be noted and updated. This must be done before submitting them back to their respective institutions for processing.
Be Proactive: Review Your Beneficiaries!
The estate planning process can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If you would like to learn more about Estate Planning, we encourage you to come to one of our workshops. Workshops are held regularly in Cranberry Township, either at the Regional Learning Alliance or in our office at Sechler Law Firm. To accommodate most people’s work schedule, workshops are held at 2pm and 6pm. The workshops are often hosted by Tim Sechler, but sometimes one of the other attorneys may hold the Workshop. To register for a Workshop, visit sechlerlawfirm.com/workshops. We look forward to seeing you there!