Friday, August 17, 2012

Three Reasons To Make Copies of Beneficiary Forms

We live in an electronic age, but there is still a place for paper.  Real paper.  I'm married to an electrical engineer, and this fact baffles him.  Here are three reasons why I advise my clients to keep copies of beneficiary forms.

  1. It confirms the forms say what you think they say.  Remember, the form controls.  So, if an ex-partner is listed, s/he will inherit under the form should you die. Beneficiary forms trump wills.  You'd be surprised how many of my clients are shocked to discover their forms do not say what they thought they did.
  2. Copies provide a trail for your loved one upon your death.  Jobs change, careers change, and over a lifetime you can leave a mess of IRAs, 401ks, and insurance policies scattered about your career path.  You may know where they are, but if you're dead, who else will know?
  3. A hard copy beneficiary is a way for you to make the financial institution accountable.  Don't count on them not misplacing the form.  They can, and they do.  I've seen it countless times.  Without one, one of two things happen; the assets fall into probate or they are distributed according to a plan the financial institution establishes (i.e. nearest living blood relative).  Recent years have shown us that financial institutions are flawed.  Don't trust them not to loose key documents.
And there are the three reasons why I advocate for making hard copies of your beneficiary forms.  With that I'll leave you to your weekend.  Enjoy, and thanks for reading.

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