Trust & Estate Planning

Keep Your Beneficiary Designations Current

July 26, 2022

For many people, summer is a time for backyard barbecues and reuniting with friends and family. It’s also an opportunity to make sure that those you choose to provide for are set up to receive your assets by double checking your beneficiary designations.

Why it’s important to review your beneficiaries: Beneficiary designations supersede your will. This means that if you update your will after a life-changing event, (such as a marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child), but do not revise your beneficiary forms, your money may not end up where you want it to go. In addition, assets left to designated beneficiaries bypass probate (which takes time and can be expensive) and are transferred automatically and privately. You should select the primary beneficiary (generally your spouse) and contingent beneficiaries who should receive your retirement assets (including IRAs, 401(k)s, and pensions), life insurance policies, and annuities. For bank accounts and certain investment accounts – including ours – you also can name a TOD (Transfer on Death) beneficiary.

When and how to update your designations: During the financial planning process, whenever your situation changes, or now (when you’re thinking of it), take a few minutes to review who you, and, if you are married, your spouse, have indicated as beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries on each of your financial accounts to confirm these forms match your wishes.

Your Washington Trust Wealth Advisor can help to ensure your beneficiary designations are correct, your estate plan is updated, and you remain in control of your wealth!

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