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beneficiary

The Designation Everybody Should Be Aware Of

At some point in your life you have probably started a new job, applied for life insurance, started an IRA or retirement account, or opened a bank account. You may remember when filling out the paperwork that the form asked for a beneficiary – both primary and contingent. This is simply telling the account’s custodian to whom you want your account to go to should you pass away. Your primary beneficiary is the first (hence the name primary) that receives account balance or death benefit. The contingent is who receives the account balance in the event your primary beneficiary predeceases you. When choosing beneficiaries you had the choice of allocating a certain percentage to the primary and some to the contingent if needed. You may have even had two or more primary beneficiaries that you allocated a certain percent of your account to totaling 100% Then you may have forgotten […]

Avoid Awkwardness in the Afterlife–Confirm Your Beneficiary Designations

This is a topic that I cover with all clients, and one that I recommend you for everyone with retirement plans and other accounts with beneficiary designations.  Too often we think we have the beneficiary designation form filled out just the way we want it, and then (once it’s too late) it is discovered that the form hadn’t been updated recently – and the designation is not what we hoped for. I made this recommendation to a client not long ago.  He assured me that he had all of his designations set up just the way he wanted.  His wife, sitting next to him in our meeting, asked him to make sure – talk to the IRA custodian and get a copy of the designation as it stands today.  A bit miffed about it all, he agreed to do so, and did the next day.  Guess what he found – […]

Per Stirpes / Per Capita–What Does it Mean?

When working with your estate planning (even if you don’t realize you are) you may run across the terms per stirpes and per capita.  Choose one type over the other and you could have a significant impact on who eventually receives your estate.  So what do these two terms mean? Dictionary.com defines the two terms as follows: per stirpes – noun; pertaining to or noting a method of dividing an estate in which the descendants of a deceased person share as a group in the portion of the estate to which the deceased would have been entitled. per capita – noun; noting or pertaining to a method of dividing an estate by which all those equally related to the decedent take equal shares individually without regard to the number of lines of descent. This probably seems like just so much gunk to you, so let’s look at an example. Joe […]

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