Checking Beneficiary Designations:
I’m sitting here on my birthday and am reminded of advice I give my clients.
This advice is so important you should mark it on your calendar. On the day after your birthday, write an entry on your calendar to check your beneficiary designations, payable on death beneficiaries, and beneficiary deeds.
There has been more than one ex-spouse or otherwise disowned child that is happily surprised when they get a life insurance check they didn’t expect. They only get the check because the owner of the life insurance, retirement account, annuity, etc. never changed the beneficiary on the account.
It is very important that you keep up with, and check on, your beneficiary designations. Paperwork can get lost resulting in the changes you wanted not getting made.
It is also important that you keep a list of accounts and beneficiaries in your estate planning folder or notebook. Otherwise your spouse and children may be forced to wait for account statements to arrive to know what you had, where you had it, and then have to deal with the company to find out who you wanted it to go to.
The point of all of this is to say check your beneficiary designations regularly and keep a list of them for your family later.
NOT IN VIDEO
After I recorded this video and transcribed it, this article came to my attention, Beneficiary Horror Stories. In it, the author has 3 case studies of what can happen when you don’t set your beneficiaries or forget to change them after a divorce.
I also want to point out that in Arkansas, a beneficiary deed (deed on death) must be, by statute, recorded before you pass away. Don’t forget that part of checking your beneficiary designations should include any beneficiary deeds you have created.
In order for your estate planning to be complete, you must keep track of the beneficiaries.