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Why It’s Important to Regularly Review Your Designated Beneficiaries

Why It’s Important to Regularly Review Your Designated Beneficiaries

March 12, 2024

Naming designated beneficiaries of your assets should never be a “set it and forget it” task. At Landmark Financial, we encourage our clients to make reviewing their designated beneficiaries a frequent part of their financial routines.

What is a designated beneficiary?

A designated beneficiary is the person (or people) named as the recipient of an asset in the case of death of the asset’s owner. Naming beneficiaries is most commonly done when setting up retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance policies, and estate documents.

Why should you regularly review your designated beneficiary?

A lot of life can happen between when you originally set up your designated beneficiary and today. Circumstances, relationships, and your wishes can easily change over the decades.

Major life events, like marriage, having children, or divorce, are all important times to review and update designated beneficiaries. However, we also recommend doing this on a periodic basis, and not only after life-shifting events.

By regularly reviewing — and updating, if necessary — your designated beneficiaries, you ensure that your assets are distributed to the people you presently intend as recipients. Additionally, you can help surviving family members avoid legal complications after your death. Outdated beneficiary information can lead to often heartbreaking legal challenges and disputes among family members.

Where should you begin?

First, make a list of all assets you own that include a designated beneficiary. Your plan advisors can then help you make any changes to your beneficiaries, should you wish to do so. In some cases, you may be able to make these changes directly in your online account(s).

Accounts to review include:

  • Estate documents (like your will, living will, or other revocable trust accounts
  • IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or other retirement accounts
  • Annuities and Pensions
  • Brokerage accounts and other investment accounts
  • Bank accounts and Certificates of Deposit
  • Insurance policies like life insurance, disability insurance and long-term care policies

Make sure your assets are in order with a Landmark Financial advisor

Do you know who is entitled to your assets? Work with a Landmark Financial advisor to ensure your assets are in order and your loved ones are cared for when you’re gone.