As you create and update your estate plan, it’s important to remember that your beneficiary designations are equally crucial to your will or trust structures. Beneficiary designations are the instructions you give to your financial institutions and insurance companies about who should receive assets which are not governed by the will or trust. Some common assets in this category include life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and annuities.
If you have questions about updating your beneficiary designations, contact us here at the Slaton Schauer Law Firm, PLLC online or via phone at (512) 258-9455. We’re here to help!
Here are some general reasons to examine beneficiary designations:
- Ensuring your wishes are carried out: If you haven’t updated your beneficiary designations in a while, there’s a chance that your assets could go to someone you no longer want to receive them. Updating your designations regularly can help ensure that your assets go to the people or organizations you choose.
- Avoiding probate: Assets with beneficiary designations typically do not go through probate, which is the legal process of administering a will. This can save time and money for your loved ones and ensure that your assets are distributed more quickly.
- Preventing conflicts: Outdated beneficiary designations can lead to conflicts and confusion among your loved ones. By keeping your designations up to date, you can help prevent disagreements and ensure that your assets are distributed in a clear and efficient manner.
- Accounting for life changes: Life changes such as marriage, divorce, and the birth of a child can all impact your estate plan. Updating your beneficiary designations is a simple way to ensure that your plan reflects these changes and that your assets go to the people you want.
It’s important to note that beneficiary designations are separate from your will or trust, and they take precedence over any instructions in those documents. This means that even if your will or trust says one thing, your beneficiary designations will control where your assets go.
In conclusion, updating your beneficiary designations is an important part of estate planning. Regularly reviewing and updating these designations can help ensure that your assets go to the people you want, avoid probate, prevent conflicts, and account for life changes. Be sure to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you create a comprehensive plan that meets your specific needs and goals.