In order for our assets and other property that we have worked so hard to accumulate over the years to be distributed per our wishes, a little preparation and planning can go a long way. One way to ensure that your assets get passed on as planned is by making beneficiary designations. You can designate beneficiaries on IRA’s, 401(k)’s, pension accounts, life insurance policies and other investment accounts, bank accounts and even property deeds if they are titled properly.
Decide Who Gets Your Assets
Designating a beneficiary or beneficiaries on an account for example, determines who gets the assets or value of that account in addition to defining what percentage of the account goes to that person or persons. One of the great features of making beneficiary designations is that you can divide the money equally among multiple people or give more to one person and less to another. This especially comes in handy when you like one child 25% more than the other. I’m only kidding, but now that I have your attention, let’s move on to the next feature.
One of the most valuable features of a beneficiary designation is the fact that it allows the assets or property to avoid probate. Probate can be a costly and time-consuming process. Taking the proper steps now can save your heirs a lot of hassle down the road. Your beneficiary designations even take precedence over your will. For example, if your will says that your brother Chuck gets your mutual fund account, but you listed your sister Wanda as the beneficiary of the account when you originally opened it, that’s bad luck for Chuck and an unexpected win for Wanda.
Review and Update Accordingly
Let’s face it, situations change over time. Life events such as marriage, the birth of a child or divorce, among many other things can create the need for a beneficiary change. If you had to list, with 100% certainty, who you have designated as a beneficiary on each of your various accounts and policies, could you do it? If the answer is no, then it’s time to review them.
Get the Proper Advice
It’s a good idea to consult a financial professional to ensure that your accounts are properly titled in a way that allows your assets to pass to the beneficiaries you choose. For more information regarding this or if you would like a no obligation consultation regarding your current financial planning and investment needs, feel free to reach out to us at 888.858.5122 or visit us online at www.fhtadvisors.com.