Check the Beneficiary Designations on Life Insurance and Retirement Policies

estate planning colmar pa

By:  John H. Filice, Esquire

We spend a lot of time discussing clients’ assets and who should receive those assets after the clients pass away. We obtain as much information as possible and prepare a Last Will and Testament to ensure our clients’ wishes are followed. However, a Last Will and Testament can only direct the disposition of assets which pass through a person’s estate. Life insurance policies, retirement policies and jointly titled assets generally do not pass through a person’s estate.

Beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement policies virtually always trump the provisions of a Will. Failure to update beneficiary designations can frustrate otherwise careful and detailed estate planning.  For example, most individuals will name their spouse as the primary beneficiary on a life insurance policy, with their children named as contingent beneficiaries. For individuals who have young children, we typically prepare a Will that establishes a Trust to manage the children’s inheritance until they reach a certain age.  If the children are named contingent beneficiaries on life insurance policy, the funds from the life insurance policy will pass to the children outside of the Will and, therefore, outside of the Trust.

Contact a Colmar Estate Planning Lawyer to Discuss Your Will Today

Beneficiary designations should be reviewed regularly.  Life changes such as births, divorces, and deaths can result in unfortunate unintended consequences without proper planning. We are able to guide you through the estate planning process and help avoid those unintended consequences.  I can be reached at 215-822-7575 or jhf@rgsglaw.com to discuss these and related issues. Contact me today!

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.