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Make Sure That Your Beneficiary Designations Do Not Mess Up Your Estate Plan


Unfortunately, even though beneficiary designations are an important part of estate planning, they are frequently overlooked. And yet, an estate plan is not simply a will and a trust; you have to make sure that your beneficiary designations go along with the rest of your plan, because if they do not, these designations can override the wishes you designate in your will and trust, as we discuss below.

Perhaps of most concern, many people either fill out the beneficiary forms themselves or have an employer or advisor do it. However, it is very easy to fill out these forms incorrectly. In addition, filling out a beneficiary form may end up undermining your existing estate plan. The best course of action is to consult with your attorney in order to make sure that your beneficiary forms are consistent with your estate planning documents. In addition, keep in mind the following and it comes to your dad beneficiary designations:

Leaving Cash Gifts

If your will leaves cash gifts, you need to make sure that enough funds come into your estate so that these gifts can be paid.

Assets Passed Via Designations Versus Your Estate & Estate Tax Liability

You also need to make sure that there is enough in your estate and trust to pay off any estate tax liability. If all of your assets are passed on via beneficiary designations, there may not be enough to pay your estate taxes.

You also need to make sure that there are enough assets flowing into your trust, as listing as beneficiaries instead of your trust can end up defeating the purpose of your estate tax planning and your heirs may end up paying more in taxes.

Consult With Your Lawyer If The Beneficiary Is A Trust & Listing Spouses

You also need to know whether your trust is irrevocable or revocable if the beneficiary is a trust, and avoid listing your spouse as the primary beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Know that if your trust provides for your spouse, they will be taken care of.

Last Minute Changes

Also avoid altering beneficiary designations at the last minute, for example, if you are nervous about not having access to enough assets, as this could be open things up to litigation from heirs as well, as increased estate tax payments.

Qualified Accounts

Finally, do not make your trust the beneficiary for your IRA without consulting your attorney.

Contact Our Florida Estate Planning Attorneys

The Orlando estate planning attorneys at the office of Gierach and Gierach, P.A. has provided countless years of the very best in estate planning and probate services to clients throughout Florida. We understand that estate planning is more than just leaving assets to your loved ones after you pass. Contact us today to find out more about what we do for our clients.






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