Have you conducted an audit lately?
No, I'm not asking about the scary kind of audit involving the IRS. This is another type of scary audit -- the kind that could reveal your assets are designed to pass to an unintended beneficiary.
Did you know that your Last Will and Testament does not always control who receives your retirement accounts, annuities, or insurance policy pay outs? These assets are often controlled by a beneficiary designation form you may have filled out years ago on your first day of work or twenty years ago when you bought that term policy. Even if your Last Will and Testament was completed more recently than the beneficiary designation form, the beneficiary designation form will control. And that could wreak havoc on your estate planning goals!
After all, you wouldn't want your ex-spouse to profit from your death because you didn't update your beneficiaries after your divorce, would you? And surely you wouldn't want the proceeds from your life insurance policy to be needlessly tied up in probate because you forgot to update your beneficiary designation form after your beloved Aunt Susie died, would you?
The sad fact is that many people complete the beneficiary designation form once at creation and then promptly forget about it. Yet, life happens - children are born, marriages dissolve, relationships fracture or blossom anew, loved ones tragically pass away. And with each of these changes comes a need to update your beneficiary designations. This is why it is imperative that you periodically conduct an audit of your beneficiary designations to make sure these accounts are inline with the rest of your estate plan.
If you need advice on how to properly set up your beneficiaries or would like us to conduct a full audit of your existing estate plan, please reach out. For many clients, these assets make up a substantial portion of their estate. It is certainly worth the time and effort to make sure things are set up appropriately!