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A key year-end estate planning step

The end of 2018 is closing in fast. The end of the year can be a good time for people to review their various accounts to see what financial position they are currently in and what they can do to help further their goals for the upcoming year and beyond.

When doing a year-end look through of their insurance and retirement savings accounts, there is also an important estate planning step people may want to add in. This step is to check the beneficiary designations on these accounts to see if they still match one’s wishes.

Why is it so important to regularly check and, if needed, update these designations? It is because these designations have ultimate control over who gets the benefits of such accounts upon one’s death. Even the terms of a will can’t override a beneficiary designation. So, since these designations play a major role in what would happen with important assets like insurance accounts and retirement savings accounts upon one’s death, it can be critical for individuals to make sure these designations are actually still in-line with what they want.

This underscores a larger point when it comes to estate planning. This is that estate planning isn’t just a one-time action, it is something that requires ongoing attention. Time and changing circumstances can cause an estate plan that was once perfectly aligned with one’s wishes to lose this alignment, and thus be at risk of not being able to serve its intended purposes. Being vigilant about regularly checking and updating the various components of one’s estate plan can help a person steer clear of having an out-of-date plan.

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