- Listing your beneficiaries ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
- Failure to list beneficiaries may result in retirement benefits being probated or distributed to unintended persons.
- Going through probate is a long and frustrating process that can deplete your property and cause unnecessary stress on your family.
Retirement is an important component of most Americans’ financial plans. They have been accumulated through decades of hard work and meticulous planning and serve as a lifeline for many during their golden years. The first is the issue of beneficiaries. The financial guru always wants to add beneficiaries to her retirement account, according to Suze Orman. Here’s why:
What is a Beneficiary?
A beneficiary list is an integral part of any financial planning strategy. Essentially, it means assigning someone to receive benefits or assets from a financial account, insurance policy, or property after the account holder or policyholder dies. It could be a family member, friend, trust, or charitable organization of your choice.
By listing your beneficiaries, you ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, rather than letting your loved ones sort things out during the uncertain and stressful times after death. It is an act of kindness, a way of caring for those you leave behind, making sure they are cared for and your legacy lives on.
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Advantages of specifying a beneficiary
Listing your beneficiaries ensures that your retirement benefits are distributed exactly as you wish. Being clear about who gets what helps prevent confusion and disagreements among heirs.
Listing beneficiaries can also help avoid family disputes. This can lead to family disputes and even legal battles.
Additionally, beneficiary designations can often take precedence over wills. Many believe that a will is the ultimate solution for distributing assets to loved ones after death. The nomination of beneficiaries almost always takes precedence over a will. This is because the designation of beneficiaries is a legal contract that takes precedence over the conflicting provisions of the will. Therefore, if a retirement account or life insurance policy has a beneficiary listed, that beneficiary will receive the proceeds of the account or policy regardless of your will.
What happens if I don’t add a recipient?
If you don’t name a beneficiary, those investments must go through probate, Orman said. She states that you don’t want to go through probate. If there are no beneficiaries, your retirement benefits may have to go through probate court, where judges decide who gets what under state law.
Probate is often a time-consuming and expensive process that can delay distribution of funds for months or years. Additionally, the funds may be distributed differently than you had hoped or expected. Courts often appoint an executor to manage the affairs of the estate, but this person may not be the person the deceased chose himself.
Additionally, probate can be expensive, with court fees, attorney fees, and other costs eroding the value of your property. All in all, going through probate is a situation that can be avoided by adding beneficiaries, saving your loved ones additional stress and costs during an already difficult time.
Listing your retirement beneficiaries is an important aspect of financial planning. Not only will it ensure that the funds are distributed according to your wishes, but it will also help prevent family disputes and most importantly avoid probate. It’s a simple step that can save you time, money and stress.
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