There are several different ways that you can pass the property on to the people that you love when you die. You can fill out beneficiary designations for specific accounts and insurance policies. Sometimes, you can even add a transfer-on-death designation to a financial account.
Several important assets may have beneficiary designations attached to them. Retirement accounts and life insurance policies are among the most valuable assets that may have a beneficiary designation. You can also specifically bequeath certain property to your loved ones in your estate planning documents.
Some people double up their protection by allocating property in your last will and also having beneficiary designation for the asset. If those designations are out of date, that could lead to probate complications.
Your last will doesn’t always control the situation
You might think that what you include in your last will is the final statement regarding the distribution of your property when you die, but that actually isn’t the case. Beneficiary designations for specific policies and accounts supersede what you have in your will. Out-of-date paperwork could mean that the wrong people inherit some of your biggest assets.
If you don’t remove your ex-wife or your estranged child from your beneficiary designations, even if you allocate those assets to others in your estate plan, those people will inherit your property anyway. When you update your estate, it is important that you update all of your documents so that they support one another, rather than conflicting with each other.
Regularly reviewing your estate plan and all your complementary documents, like beneficiary designations, can help you ensure the right people receive your assets when you die.