ST. CROIX INSIGHTS
Your Will Isn’t Good Enough
BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC
The inevitable: death and taxes. Subscribe to our blog and follow along as we journey through these difficult topics, providing tips to ensure you’re as prepared as possible.
In this blog, we’re discussing how just having a will may not be enough. Even the most updated, will may not be enough depending on your intentions and investments.
Many times, without extra steps, some or even a majority of your assets could be distributed against your wishes as outlined in your will. Examples are:
- 401(k) Plan: If you’re married, regardless of your intentions in your will, generally your 401(k) assets will transfer to your spouse.
- Regardless of when the account was established (even if it was prior to walking down the aisle AND even if you have a prenuptial), your spouse becomes the sole beneficiary to your 401(k) if you name them as the beneficiary. Time to check to see who is the beneficiary of your retirement accounts.
- If this is not your intention to leave your money to your spouse, I’d like to be a fly on the wall while you’re having that conversation. If that’s truly your desire, generally spouses have to sign an acknowledgement on your 401k account.
- If you’re not married or if your marital status changes, make sure that your beneficiary designation remains current. In most cases, this is as easy as filling out and returning a form to your plan administrator(s).
- IRA: Just as with your 401(k) plan, your IRA beneficiaries needed to be spelled out separately. Claims would go to the individual(s) you set forth on your beneficiary designation form.
- It’s your choice to name whomever you want as beneficiary on your IRA, so make sure that when you are laying out your will and making an estate plan, your beneficiary designations match your intentions.
- Once you’re married it’s time to update the beneficiary information.
- Again, if you’re not married or if your marital status changes, make sure that your beneficiary designation remains current.
You worked hard for your money, so make sure that it passes into the hands you choose, not attorneys.
As always, make sure that you talk to your advisor(s) and attorney(s) as you create your estate plan. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.