Update beneficiaries to reflect current estate plans

People in Florida may create a will in order to make sure that their assets are passed on to their loved ones after their death. Making a will is an important part of creating an estate plan, but it does not reflect the whole picture. There are other important steps that a person can take in order to make sure that their assets are handled according to their wishes. Beneficiary designations can be some of the most important yet simple options for people to check.

While a will covers the distribution of most property after a person dies, some assets are distributed according to a beneficiary specified with the policy or plan manager. For example, life insurance policies, annuities, 401(k) accounts and IRAs are distributed to named beneficiaries designated by the policy holder. This designation is given priority over written information in a will or trust. However, many people name a beneficiary when they first create an account but do not update it to reflect life changes. For example, people may name their long-divorced former spouse as a beneficiary. In other cases, they may have created the account as a young person and named their late parents as beneficiaries even though they are now married with their own children.

It is relatively simple to change or update a designated beneficiary. An account holder can contact the management company or insurance agent to receive the necessary paperwork. By filling out, signing and returning the form, the account holder can update the beneficiary to reflect their current preferences.

Beneficiary designations can be some of the most critical yet often overlooked parts of creating a comprehensive plan to distribute a person's assets. An estate planning attorney may provide advice on developing this plan and create key documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney.

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Rachel Rall, Attorney at Law, P.A.
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