With life being as unpredictable as it is, there is one thing that we can
all count on – life is constantly changing. No matter how well you
plan for life’s events, there is much that is out of your control.
Things such as marriage, the birth of a child, death, and divorce can
drastically change your life in the blink of an eye.
You can be in what you thought was the happiest of marriages, only to learn
that your spouse fell in love with someone else and wants a divorce. Before
you know it, you’re selling your marital residence and perhaps even
getting a new job in another part of town.
Or, you may have never planned on having children but you meet someone
special and before you know it, you’re welcoming a new baby to your
family, and now you have your spouse and child’s financial security
to think about.
Since life is ever-changing, it’s critically important that your
estate plan reflects these changes. If you simply place your estate planning
documents in a file drawer or on a shelf and forget about them, by the
time you need them your
beneficiary designations may be out of date.
When should I change my beneficiary designations?
Generally, you should review, if not change your beneficiary designations
whenever you experience a major life event, such as a birth, a divorce,
a death in the family, or a falling out with a beneficiary, such as a
child, a sibling, or a close friend.
If you have a beneficiary designated and something happens, for example,
you get a divorce, or there is a death in the family, you should not wait
to update your life insurance policy, your bank account, or your will.
If you fail to make these necessary changes, your assets can be distributed
in a matter that is not according to your wishes.
You should review your beneficiary designations whenever the following
- You get a divorce
- You adopt a new child
- You welcome a new baby
- A grandchild is born
- There is a death in the family
- One of your beneficiaries die
- A minor beneficiary turns 18
- You have a falling out with a beneficiary
- You move to another state or country
- You begin to take care of elderly parents
Has it been a long time since you took a look at your designated beneficiaries?
Have you divorced, remarried, or welcomed a child since you last updated
your beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, retirement accounts,
and bank accounts? If so, you want to review and update them as soon as possible.
If you neglect to update your beneficiaries and they are out of date and
something happens to you, your assets can go to the wrong people. This
can be very frustrating for your survivors, and that is not how you want
to leave the ones you love.
As a general rule, you should review your beneficiary designations once
a year, or whenever you experience a change in your family’s status.
Need a Nashville estate planning attorney to help you update your beneficiary
designations? If so,
contact me, David Whittaker, Attorney at Law for the legal guidance you need!