Like our financial circumstances, our life circumstances can change, too. Our opinions and concerns about our loved ones, and our priorities in caring for them may change dramatically, becoming out-dated, as our life circumstances shift. Those who have thought about and created estate plans for themselves are advised to re-visit and confirm or revise their plans at each major life milestone or new chapter (or, every decade or so, if that’s easier to remember). Often, however, we forget that our non-probate assets, the assets that pass by naming a beneficiary (insurance policies and retirement plans, for example) also need to have periodic (re)consideration – sometimes just to confirm your choice in the first place, or, more often, to change because of an altered circumstance.
It’s important to remember that with the privilege of being able to pass certain assets to another by means of a beneficiary designation also comes the great responsibility to confirm that the beneficiary you have named is indeed the one that you meant to name. What if you divorce and your husband’s name is never changed as the beneficiary? What if you’ve named a beneficiary who is now deceased? What if you named your niece as beneficiary when you didn’t have your own children, but now you have children of your own? In most cases, the beneficiary designation sticks, even if your second wife insists that you always meant to change the beneficiary on your life insurance, but you just never got around to it. And, anyway, even if it’s not going to be an injustice for the earlier beneficiary you named to be the recipient of your bounty, perhaps there is someone you would rather benefit now that you’ve arrived at this place in your life circumstances.
So, if you have already created an estate plan, remember that each time you re-visit it you should include a quick confirmation of your current beneficiaries – make sure they match the intent of your other legal documents and serve your wishes adequately. If you’ve not yet created your legal documents, ask an attorney to assist you in identifying those assets and helping you decide how to use your beneficiary designations to support your estate planning goals.This blog is written by Bridget-Michaele Reischl, Attorney DECORO LAW OFFICE, PLLC www.decorolaw.com
ALL READERS: This blog is not, nor shall it be deemed to be, legal advice or counsel. This blog does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. It is designed to encourage thoughtful consideration of important legal issues with the expectation that readers will seek professional advice from a licensed attorney.Contact Bridget-Michaele Reischl at: DECORO LAW OFFICE, PLLC 6 West 5th Street, Suite 800-D Saint Paul, MN 55102 (651)-321-3058