One of the most important steps in any estate planning strategy is choosing your beneficiary designations. After all, you don’t want to go through the time-consuming process of accounting for all of life’s what-ifs to leave your property, assets, and priceless family heirlooms up for grabs. No, you deserve complete control over what happens next and who gets what. Furthermore, your loved ones shouldn’t have to waste time, money, and additional stress when they are grief-stricken.
Thankfully, beneficiary designations in your new will or trust typically aren’t something you forget. Your estate planning attorney will remind you, though most people know exactly who they’ll choose before showing up to the appointment.
Where the problem typically presents itself is years down the road.
What can happen if your beneficiary designations are out of date?
Divorces happen. So does getting remarried, having more children, and having beneficiaries pass away before you do. Then there are other major life changes (grandchildren, new business ventures, property sales, new wealth, etc.), many of which can significantly impact who you want to inherit certain stuff. The next thing you know, a few more years go by, and your beneficiary designations are now far from what they should be. Former spouses no longer in your life stand to inherit everything, and children who weren’t alive when your will or trust was first created are still unaccounted for in your planning.
We constantly preach to our clients the importance of reviewing their estate plans every 2-3 years. This accounts for any significant life changes and allows them to update their beneficiary designations. Just a few immediate benefits include:
• Your assets end up in the right hands
• You can name outside entities that are important later in life (nonprofits, etc.)
• Avoiding legal difficulties
• Eliminating confusion and potential family disputes
• Avoiding delays in the transfer of funds and other property
A beneficiary can be someone related to you (spouse and children) or not related to you, such as a friend, coworker, or organization. Deciding who to name can be quite a chore for some people, and it’s a no-brainer for others. Either way, having the right beneficiary designations means you can rest assured that your wishes will be carried out correctly.
Call Caitlyn Ashley Law today!!
Having a plan for the future is the most important gift you can give yourself and your family. Granted, none of us will ever know for sure what is around every corner in life. And just thinking about the what-ifs — what if I were to die or become incapacitated tomorrow; what if my child with special needs has no one to care for her; what if all my “stuff” isn’t passed onto the right people — can be overwhelming. But having a plan that accounts for your family’s unique circumstances, puts your affairs in order, has concrete solutions to your concerns, lays out your wishes and goals, and protects your family’s future provides peace of mind for the road ahead.
Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, Texas, will counsel you on which documents are best suited for your needs and ensure they are flexible enough to meet your changing needs for years to come.