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Home » Estate Planning » Estate planning: Are your beneficiary designations up to date?

Those in New Jersey or elsewhere who would like to make sure they, their loved ones and their assets are protected should consider putting together an estate plan. Few people do, though. While estate planning certainly has its place, for those who are not quite ready to take that step, making sure beneficiary designations are up to date is the next best thing they can do for themselves.

Most accounts that people have — bank accounts, retirement funds, stock accounts, online accounts and so on –allow account owners to designate beneficiaries. By utilizing this option, assets and account access will be passed directly to the listed beneficiaries, meaning those accounts are not typically subject to the probate process. Designating beneficiaries is a good way to ensure certain people get certain assets upon one’s death.

The problem with beneficiary designations is that many people set them and forget about them. Life changes often warrant the need to change these designations, but making the necessary adjustments is something many people fail to do. If modifications are not made, assets may end up in the wrong hands, and there will be little anyone can do about it.

Updating beneficiary designations is an easy thing to do. In many cases, it can be done online; however, some accounts may require forms to be filled out and mailed in. Either way, taking a few minutes to review and make changes to beneficiary designations is just a smart way to ensure assets get passed on to the right people. When ready to go even further, New Jersey residents can seek full personal, family and asset protection by going through the entire estate planning process with the assistance of legal counsel.