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Schmidt, Kirby & Sullivan, P.C.: Estate Planning
Are Your Beneficiary Designations Up to Date? Photo credit: Pexels

An important part of managing your estate plan (which is the lifetime planning of your assets as well as the disposition of your property at the time of your death), is ensuring that the beneficiary designations on your financial accounts reflect your current wishes.

Many bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and retirement accounts allow you to designate who will receive those accounts after your death. It is important that these beneficiary designations are kept up to date and that they are consistent with the rest of your estate plan.

There are several reasons to review your beneficiary designations regularly. Life changes (for both you and your loved ones), changes in charities you wish to support, etc. may result in your need to update your beneficiary designations on one or more of your accounts.

If you don’t name a beneficiary on your retirement plan documents, the distribution of those benefits may be controlled by state or federal law or according to your particular retirement plan’s rules. You should not assume that your retirement plan will be distributed according to your trust agreement or will. The only way to control where this money goes after your death is to name a beneficiary or beneficiaries.

You may want to designate your trust as beneficiary. A trust agreement must be properly drafted to comply with Missouri state laws and to avoid tax consequences. We can help you decide if a trust is right for you, and if your trust should be named as beneficiary of your financial accounts. We can also help you review the beneficiary designations you currently have in place to ensure they fit your current wishes.

If you have any questions about making beneficiary designations or about your estate plan, please contact our office at (417) 882-2828.

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