As you pass through life, you will have undoubtedly filled out some beneficiary designation forms. Whether you’re purchasing a new life insurance policy or simply opening a new bank account, this simple document states to whom the money should be passed if you happen to pass away. Over time, you may forget about certain accounts and who the beneficiaries are which is why it is important to review your beneficiary designation forms often. As long as you keep track of these forms, your money will end up with the desired beneficiary in the event of your passing.
Life Insurance – Overall, this is one of the easiest to change and you can do so by simply updating your beneficiary designation form. After doing so, you should always phone your insurance company to ensure that it all passed through correctly. Remember, you may have smaller insurance policies through work or personal ventures so you will have to update them individually.
Bank Accounts – With most bank accounts, you will be able to make the most of a ‘Transfer of Death’ designation form. With this set up, your desired beneficiary will simply have to take your death certificate into the bank and they will have access to your funds. Often, this is the preferred method because it doesn’t require a specific name and you won’t have to review it every few months.
Health Insurance Savings – To prevent your estate from being billed the medical costs, ensure that your heirs have access to your health insurance savings. For up to a year after you pass away, your family and friends will be able to use these funds to pay for medical expenses.
Retirement Funds – Over the years, we tend to accumulate a number of different retirement accounts and they each have a beneficiary designation form. If this is the case, you will need to maintain these accounts and ensure that you always have the right name on them. If you find it hard to keep up with them all, why not roll all your accounts into one Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to have just one beneficiary form and one name?
Trusts and Wills – Despite popular belief, the names on your individual accounts will actually override what is stated in your will so it is important to review these documents often.
Too often, families are left with a mess of a financial situation and family members don’t get the money or possessions they feel they deserve. For this reason, keeping track of your beneficiary designation accounts is one of the most important things you can do. As long as you remember to keep on top of them and check them often, they will remain in order and the correct money will be left to the correct person.