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Estate Planning Must Be Kept Up to Date

By Howard C. Stross
January 05, 2012

Estate planning for insurance, investment accounts, retirement accounts, bank accounts and other financial vehicles must include regular audits to ensure the correct beneficiaries are named on each account.

Failing to keep beneficiary designations up to date can be costly and may result in an unintended beneficiary inheriting a lifetime of your retirement savings or life insurance proceeds.

For example, if you die and the beneficiaries named on an account are deceased or are named incorrectly (i.e. you designated your parents and they are deceased) because you failed to update designations as part of your estate planning, a probate court may become involved. The result is higher probate fees and a possibility that an unintended recipient will receive the assets of the account.

Please remember that your IRAs and life insurance policies — possibly some of the largest parts of your estate — are not subject to Florida wills or probate court as long as you have a beneficiary designation in place and that designation is up to date.  This money will pass to your loved ones solely by your beneficiary designation forms.

A Checklist for Your Beneficiary Audit of Estate Planning Insurance
and Other Accounts:

When is the last time you reviewed the names of the people you designated as beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, IRAs, 401(k)’s and the like?  If you can’t remember, it’s a good bet that you should do so – now! Here’s a checklist of what to look for on each account:

  1. Have your beneficiary designations been filled out properly with primary and secondary beneficiaries?
  2. Do you have written confirmation from your IRA custodians and life insurance companies that states that the custodian and life company has an updated copy of your beneficiary designations on file?
  3. Have you updated your beneficiary designations to show family changes resulting from divorce, death of a beneficiary or any new children or grandchildren?
  4. Have you included a copy of all of your beneficiary designations with your Will that is located in a safe deposit box or other secure place?

If you want additional information concerning beneficiary designations for estate planning insurance and other accounts, please call me at 813-852-6500 or 727-787-1088. Our firm provides a Free Initial Consultation with no obligation for all new clients.

Learn more about estate planning, probate and insurance on these pages:

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