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  • Writer's pictureGeoff Wells

Are Your Beneficiaries Up-To-Date?

Beneficiaries are something that we take for granted until it is too late.  There are many different examples of unfortunate situations where instead of a large 401k going to children as planned, an ex-spouse that is no longer in the picture inherits the assets.  A quick check of beneficiaries now could prevent family strife later.

What is a Beneficiary? Beneficiaries are individuals or entities that will receive your assets after you pass away. Does My Living Will Cover This? Sometimes.  A will distributes non-retirement accounts, however, IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, insurance contracts and many other account types bypass a will and are distributed directly to a beneficiary.

How to Check my Beneficiaries? Beneficiaries are often listed as part of online account access. On your behalf, we can also help check your beneficiaries of accounts that we manage.   When all else fails, a simple phone call to the custodian should provide you the information.

How to Update Beneficiaries? This will depend on where the account is held, but often times you can update the beneficiaries via online account access.  If online updates are not available, a simple beneficiary change form can be filled out in 5 minutes.

What if I have 6 old employer 401(k) plans? Each plan would need to be updated individually, however, the best approach would be to consolidate each of the plans into either an IRA account or your current 401(k) plan.  This spring cleaning would simplify your overall financial management and help you better track your progress toward your goals.

Bottom Line 10-15 minutes of your time now may prevent others questioning intent beyond the grave.


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