Review Beneficiaries and Estate Plan

Goal: Review beneficiaries and estate plan to ensure that they are current.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Benjamin Franklin

What happens to my money when I die?

What happens to your money when you die, will depend on the planning that you do, while you are alive. The Get Ready Financial Calendar action item for July is reviewing your beneficiaries and estate planning.

It’s important to review the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, retirement plans and other accounts every year or whenever you have a life changing event. By reviewing and designating beneficiaries, you can ensure that when the time comes, your assets will go exactly where you specify. If you don’t have designated beneficiaries on file with your financial institutions, the court could make that decision for you.

It’s a good idea to name at least one primary beneficiary, and one contingent beneficiary on all of your financial accounts. Remember, it’s your beneficiary designation, and not your will that dictates how proceeds will be distributed.

Document your health care preferences with an advanced health care directive. Be sure to discuss your health care proxy with your family, a friend and/or a trusted advisor so they can be familiar with your wishes. Be sure to let them know you have an advanced health care directive. If nobody knows it exists, it can’t be used.

You should also review all of your estate planning documents to make sure they are current. This includes wills, trusts, and advance directives. Consider if changes are needed.

Next step: 

Access the Get Ready Toolkit which includes worksheets to document final arrangements, powers of attorney and estate planning documents(here). The Get Ready Toolkit also includes the “Stepping In” Checklist.  The “Stepping In” checklist consist of all the steps to take in the event a loved one passes away. 

The Get Ready Toolkit also includes a subscription to the Get Ready Newsletter which follows the Get Ready Financial Calendar to help you stay financially prepared.

Pick up a copy of Get Ready: A Step-By-Step Planner for Maintaining Your Financial First Aid kit to guide you through organizing your financial documents and reviewing beneficiary designations and estate planning documents. Pick up a copy on Amazon (here), purchase a digital copy (here) or learn more (here).