Most people know that their estate plans will evolve over the course of time. This is why you cannot be the process of Estate Planning in California as one that you sit down in accomplish only once. It is very important to have an ongoing relationship with your Pasadena estate planning attorney so that you can continue to follow up and adjust your estate planning documents as needed.
There might come a time when you need to update your beneficiary forms. Your beneficiaries do not have any immediate legal rights to your assets during your lifetime. Furthermore, many beneficiaries do not even know they have been named in your estate planning documents, retirement accounts, or life insurance policies. There is one major exception that applies to updating your beneficiaries, and that involves irrevocable trusts that cannot be altered.
In order to update your beneficiary designations, you will need to contact the account managers directly. Retirement accounts such as a 401k or an IRA make it relatively easy to change designated beneficiaries with the completion of a form. It is very important that you review your decisions with a tax or legal professional, however, because there could be potential tax consequences for that beneficiary as a result of your change.
Overall, it is important that you view your estate-planning as a set of tools that can be amended and reviewed based on your individual needs. If your original beneficiary passes away, for example, you will need to update the forms with your life insurance policy and retirement accounts to ensure that you name another person to receive these assets if you pass away.
It is up to you to review these documents on a regular basis and to contact your Pasadena estate planning lawyer if life circumstances have dictated a change in your original plans. The advice provided by the right attorney can give you a great deal of peace of mind about your intentions and how your estate plan lines up with those goals.