10th Mar 2014
When doing estate planning or administering an estate, one area that deserves special attention is beneficiary designations.
Common examples of beneficiary designations are: a life insurance policy set up to pay out to a spouse at the death of the insured, an Individual Retirement Account (“IRA”) or other investment or retirement account established to pass to the children of the account holder at death, and a bank account designed to be payable on the death of the owner (“POD”) to a named trustee of a pre-established trust. Beneficiary designations generally affect personal property – i.e. not real property / real estate.
The main thing to understand about beneficiary designations is that they pass property independently of the terms of any established will or trust. For example, a bank account with a POD designation will pass to whoever is named on the signature card at the death of the owner – not according to the will of the owner.
Future posts will look more in depth at related issues.
This blog contains general information and the opinions of the author – not legal advice; you should seek the advice of competent counsel (attorney/lawyer) when considering any legal issues.