Monday, March 16, 2009

Who are your Beneficiaries

CNN Money reports on the 5 things you need to know about naming beneficiaries.

1. Your estate plan can create havoc if you have out-of-date beneficiary designations on accounts like IRA's, 401Ks, insurance policies, etc. If you write your ex-wife out of your will but leave her as beneficiary of your life insurance, you can expect a family fight.

2. Always name a runner-up. If you don't and your beneficiaries die before you do, your estate will go to probate.

3.IRAs and 401Ks are written with advantages to spouses over children. This one is not wholly correct these rules have changed as part of the recovery package enacted in December, Congress gave other heirs the ability to deter taxes by rolling money into an individual IRA. See here. As always consult a professional advisor.

4. A minor beneficiary means probate. In most states courts will supervise the distribution left to kids under 18. Better to set up a trust in the child's name and name your own trustee.

5. Changing beneficiaries is not hard. A lot of the big companies have forms online. Keep a master list of accounts and beneficiaries with the rest of your estate documents.

No comments: