Usually as an account owner, you bear the responsibility to complete individual beneficiary designation forms with certain accounts. This is because your will or other estate planning documents do not override the forms filed with those companies.
It is very possible that you filed the beneficiary designation form with a company, such as a life insurance carrier, many years ago and that this information is no longer relevant or accurate. This is particularly true if you have since gotten divorced and your spouse was listed as the primary person on that policy.
You would typically provide beneficiary information when you established a retirement account, life insurance policy or IRA. Make sure that you have completed a beneficiary designation form for every account that requires specifically naming a beneficiary. You want to ensure that this remains updated, so put together an annual calendar reminder so that you can reflect back and update if there have been any changes in your life.
Once a year, you can call in to the company managing these forms and ask for a copy of your current beneficiary designations. Keep a copy of this for yourself in your records and use this annual calendar reminder to update your beneficiary names.
Want to add a discussion about beneficiary designations and who makes the most sense based on the kind of account to your annual estate planning review? We’re here to help. We know that you want to provide for your loved ones in the most effective way and along with wills and trusts, beneficiary designations can help you make the most of all of your estate planning intentions. We’ll help you create a roadmap that you can return to in future years to ensure your estate planning documents are fully updated.