Naming your beneficiaries is an important decision that many people don’t give enough consideration to. Should something happen to you, you want to be sure the right people receive your inheritance. Not naming a beneficiary, or not giving enough thought to your listed beneficiaries, means your assets could go to probate when you pass, putting your intended beneficiaries’ inheritance at risk or resulting in unexpected tax consequences for them.

A little planning can help make sure your assets are distributed exactly the way that you intend.

  • Check your policy to ensure your designated beneficiaries are accurate and up to date.
  • You may want to consider naming more than one beneficiary or naming a contingent beneficiary. Otherwise, should your beneficiary pass before you do, a judge may have to decide how to distribute your assets.
  • Be sure to specifically name your beneficiaries (rather than simply listing “my children”, for example.) Not doing so may lead to problems after you pass, particularly if you have a blended family or if one of your children dies before you.
  • Update your beneficiary designations after any change in family status. Otherwise, the wrong person (such as an ex-spouse) could get your assets.
  • Revisit your beneficiary selections annually to make sure they’re still current.

Keeping your beneficiaries updated will give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be protected just the way you intended.