You may know that some aspects of your estate may pass outside of probate or your will. These are known as those accounts that have beneficiaries listed on them. It is very important to designate both primary and contingency beneficiaries so that you can feel confident that your estate plans are being followed through and that those people you intend to receive money get it after you pass away.
By naming beneficiaries, you help to determine what happens to your money and clarify for all involved parties your intentions. Furthermore, having beneficiaries established on these documents simplifies the settling of your estate and can reduce the possibility for stressful situations for those left behind.
Beneficiaries associated with financial accounts, such as retirement accounts and insurance policies should always be established with the company managing that policy because these are not impacted by changes made to wills. Direct designations on these policies will override anything in your will.
Finally, the names of beneficiaries associated with financial account documents stay private. Items named in a will, however, can become a matter of public record and could expose heirs to scrutiny. Set aside time to meet with a qualified estate planning attorney to learn more about the process of protecting your loved ones in your estate. This can include establishing names of beneficiaries and other important party stakeholders.
Talk to our NH estate planning lawyers if you have further questions about what to do with your beneficiary forms. We’ll help you see how this fits into your bigger estate plan goals.