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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Beneficiary Designations - A Big Deal

The linked article from WealthManagement.com asks "What is the Big Deal About Beneficiary Designations?"

Whether you've never done any estate planning or you already have a will or trust, naming beneficiaries or updating your old beneficiary designations is absolutely critical!

Don't understand why it's important?
You might want to read Egelhoff v. Egelhoff, 532.U.S. 141 (2001) and then ask the children of Mr. David A. Eggelhoff. 
After their father divorced Donna Rae Egelhoff (their stepmother), he forgot to update the beneficiary designations on his Boeing retirement funds. Consequently, instead of his children inheriting his retirement funds when he died unexpectedly...his ex-wife did
In fact, the unanimous opinion of the high court was that federal law governing ERISA retirement plans preempted the contrary state law "disinheriting" ex-spouses. 
When people think about estate planning, many overlook the importance of updating beneficiary information on assets like 401(k)s, IRA and life insurance policies.  This can lead to serious unintended consequences, to include litigation!
Failing to set or update beneficiary designations on financial accounts (to match the instructions in the will or trust document) ranks among one of the most common mistakes in estate planning.  Don't let an Egelhoff-like disaster happen to your loved ones!

Need help with your beneficiary designations? Call Golowin Legal.

Russell C. Golowin helps clients create wills, trusts and other estate planning documents in the central Ohio area. Visit his website for more information on estate planning in Columbus, Ohio.

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