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Accurate beneficiary designations critical for an estate plan

On Behalf of | Oct 8, 2022 | Estate Planning

When you consider your plans for the future, one of your primary objectives may be to protect the interests of your loved ones above all else. You likely want to ensure that your assets and property go to the right places, and this means taking steps to ensure that all of your beneficiary designations on certain accounts are accurate. Failure to do this could lead to complications when it is time to distribute assets and settle your estate in the future.  

A beneficiary is a person named to inherit an asset, particularly assets held in certain types of accounts. This includes Roth IRAs, annuities, life insurance accounts and more. The person designated as the beneficiary is considered the rightful heir of those assets in the event of the owner’s death. It is important to ensure that your current beneficiary designations are up-to-date and that all aspects of your estate plan reflect your wishes. 

Who can be a designated beneficiary? 

You must name a living person as a designated beneficiary. You cannot name a non-living entity, such as a charitable organization, to inherit assets from certain types of accounts. In order to receive assets from the account, the designated beneficiary will have to file a claim with a copy of the death certificate. You have the right to have the final say over what happens to your assets after your passing. This includes your real property, as well as funds in certain types of accounts. 

Having updated beneficiary designations allows you to maintain control over your Massachusetts property. After changes in your life, such as the death of a spouse, divorce or birth of additional children, your beneficiary designations may also need to change. If you do not change the designation as your life circumstances change, it is possible your assets could end up in the wrong hands. 

Creating a complete estate plan 

Your estate plan should be custom-tailored to your individual needs and objectives for the future. Part of ensuring that you get the final say over your property is taking the time to keep your plans current. If you are unsure of how to make the right choices for your beneficiary designations or you need to update your current plans, you will benefit from discussing your concerns with a professional who can provide guidance regarding the changes you may need to make.