People in Georgia may want to pay close attention to beneficiary designations when they think about estate planning. People may feel that when they have written a will or established a trust, they have everything in order for the future. However, a wide array of assets are not generally distributed through a will or the probate process. Instead, they pass directly to another person by naming a payable on death beneficiary. Life insurance, investment accounts and retirement funds are some of the accounts that most frequently pass by naming a beneficiary, as are regular bank accounts.
Of course, these are often some of the largest assets in a person’s estate, so it can be particularly important to ensure they are distributed correctly. Making sure that beneficiary designations are correct and up to date can be one of the most critical things someone can do to protect their assets. People often name their beneficiaries when they first open an account, take out an insurance policy or start a job. They may forget to change the beneficiary, even when important changes happen in their lives, like marrying, divorcing or having a child. As a result, some of these significant funds could wind up being transferred to an unexpected or even unwanted recipient, such as a former spouse.
People using a trust to manage their estate also need to be careful with their beneficiary designations. These accounts may be intended to form the bulk of the trust’s assets, so it is important that the trust is properly named as the beneficiary on all relevant accounts.
When people plan for the future of their assets, they may need to pay close attention to beneficiary designations and related details. An estate planning attorney might be able to guide people through the process, including drafting wills, trusts and other key documents.