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Resolve to Check Your Beneficiaries
The start of the new year is a time when many people resolve to make positive changes in their lives. Perhaps you have decided to watch what you eat, to get more exercise or to take a class or explore a new leisure activity. But don’t forget to make necessary changes in your financial life as well – such as taking a look at the person or persons you have named as a beneficiary on your life insurance coverage and retirement savings accounts.
Naming a beneficiary on a life insurance policy or retirement account is one of those things that most people do when they take out the policy or open the account, and then never think about again. But life changes, and failing to update your beneficiary to reflect those changes can have disastrous consequences.
Say, for example, that you take out an insurance policy when you are just getting started in your career. Perhaps you are single, in which case you probably name a parent as your beneficiary. Several years later you marry, and some time after that you have children. Unless you change the beneficiary to your spouse and/or children, your parent will still be the beneficiary and will receive your life insurance benefit if you die.
Perhaps you take out a policy when you marry and name your spouse as the beneficiary. But unfortunately, your marriage does not work out, and you divorce. Later you remarry and have children. But if you have not changed the beneficiary on your policy, your first spouse will collect your life insurance benefits if you die.
The same issues can apply to many kinds of retirement savings accounts in which you also name a beneficiary in case you die. Having the wrong beneficiary not only can mean that the money does not go to the person or persons you chose; there also can be tax consequences that you did not intend.
Finally, you also might want to name or change secondary beneficiaries. If your spouse is your primary beneficiary, for example, you might want to add children as secondary beneficiaries.
At The Bensman Group, we are always happy to discuss your insurance and retirement savings needs, including the choice of beneficiaries. We can help you make the best choice for this stage of your life, and make sure that you revisit that choice as your life changes. Just contact us at 847-572-0808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.