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Assigning beneficiaries and updating when necessary

Estate planning is an essential part of preparing for the future. Determining who to assign as beneficiaries to certain assets can prove to be a difficult decision for some. Even after those decisions are made, life changes may warrant the modification of an estate plan, including updating beneficiaries on all applicable accounts. Unfortunately, updating beneficiaries is something many individuals, in Florida and across the country, fail to do.

Beneficiary designation is certainly an efficient way to ensure the transfer of certain assets to a desired person, loved one or other. There are so many accounts and legal documents that offer a way to name a beneficiary, should something happen to the account owner. These include retirement accounts, life insurance policies and a variety of other financial accounts and assets. With so many accounts to keep track of, particularly if significant life changes occur, ensuring each account has an updated beneficiary to reflect these changes can sometimes fall to the wayside.

Reviewing the beneficiaries assigned to these assets on a regular basis is definitely a good habit to get into. Making modifications is typically very easy to do, as many accounts allow their owners to make corrections online. Other revisions to estate plans may require legal assistance, such as making adjustments to the guardianship and care of minor children and assigning beneficiaries to certain assets that don't have a standard beneficiary designation form.

As life changes, so should estate plans. Updating information, including changing beneficiaries if needed, is the only way to ensure that all assets are accounted for and are dispersed properly. Florida residents would be wise to review their estate plans regularly and make the necessary adjustments as soon as possible, to guarantee their final wishes are upheld.

Source:, "FINANCIAL FOCUS: Update beneficiary designations, avoid problems", Joe Faulk, May 9, 2014

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