Beneficiary Designations

Most of us today are "worth more dead than alive." That is because a large part of our estate consists of life insurance policies and retirement plans. Importantly, those assets, such as life insurance policies, 401K plans, IRAs and annuities, generally are not subject to your will, but instead pass to whomever you have designated as your beneficiary. People typically have designated their spouse as sole beneficiary for all such assets. Accordingly, it is imperative to immediately review all beneficiary designations and to make appropriate changes. Please note that under Federal law, your legal spouse must be named as sole beneficiary of all your company pension, profit sharing and 401K plans unless he or she agrees otherwise in writing on a form provided by your employer. Check with a qualified estate planning attorney to make sure you follow all applicable rules in naming beneficiaries of these assets.



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BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS -- Following a divorce, the beneficiary designations for the following financial instruments should be amended unless the client chooses to leave everything to his/her ex-spouse: 1) Employer retirement plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), life insurance, annuities, health savings accounts; 2) Transfer on Death (TOD) investment accounts;
 3) Payable on Death (POD) bank accounts; 
4) wills
; 5) health care powers of attorney and living wills; 6) powers of attorney;
 7) revocable trusts; 8) advanced estate planning structures such as irrevocable trusts.

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