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Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes- Step 3

Monitor beneficiary designations.

John implemented an estate plan to protect his son, Charlie who has special needs. In fact, Charlie receives government assistance under the Medicaid and SSI programs. John made sure that his Will provided for a Supplemental Needs Trust for his son. Meanwhile, he forgot to change the beneficiary designation on his IRA and Life Insurance Policies and when he passed away, those assets went directly to Charlie. This immediately impacted Charlie’s ability to continue to receive Medicaid and SSI. Not to mention that Charlie is not capable of managing these assets.

It’s not uncommon for clients to own multiple accounts with beneficiary designations, such as retirement plans, insurance policies and annuity contracts. Beneficiary designations take precedence over a client’s will, and that hierarchy can cause problems if an asset goes to a now-incorrect beneficiary because the deceased forgot to change the designation.

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