Do not overlook beneficiary designations.
A significant aspect of estate planning is the transfer of wealth.
There are a number of ways this can be accomplished.
What are they?
They include through a title, a will, or a contract.
According to a recent InsideNoVa article titled “Naming Beneficiaries: A Quick Tip to Reduce the Surprise Factor,” beneficiary designations have an unfortunate way of being forgotten.
Review your accounts.
Check the beneficiary designations on your pension plans, retirement accounts, and insurance policies.
This should be done especially after major life changes.
What constitutes a major life event?
These include births, adoptions, marriages, or divorces.
Make the necessary updates.
You may need to change your primary and contingent beneficiaries.
You could also change the percentages designated to each of your beneficiaries.
The type of contract you have will also affect how the money is distributed.
If it is per stirpes, the share of your beneficiary will be distributed "downstream" to the children of your beneficiary if he passes away before you.
On the other hand, if it is per capita, the share of your beneficiary will be distributed first to any other beneficiaries identified along with him if he passes away before you.
Think of it this way: per stirpes means you want to benefit your grandchildren, if they lose their parent, and per capita means you want to benefit your children as a class before anything passes to grandchildren.
Alternatively, you may choose to designate a trust as the beneficiary, if appropriate, to determine this "if this, then that" aspect of the inheritance distribution.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney will help you ensure that you have dotted all of your I’s and crossed all of your T’s.
Reference: InsideNoVa (October 26, 2018) “Naming Beneficiaries: A Quick Tip to Reduce the Surprise Factor”