If you realize after the fact that you and your spouse did not have your account set up properly, all of the estate planning that you have done prior to that point may become invalid. If you have a will as well as a trust, bear in mind that nay beneficiary designations you have on separate accounts will override what your trust and your will says.
It is simply not enough to set aside a meeting with an estate planning lawyer to talk over your options and to determine who you want your assets to be passed down to when it’s from your 401(k), IRA or from your life insurance policy. That’s because these companies keep their own records of your beneficiary designations. You’re still eligible to make your own decisions about who should receive these benefits should something happen to you. But all of the good planning in the world associated with your trust and your will can fall apart relatively quickly if you do not have these other elements in place.
Make sure that you set aside time to analyze your beneficiary designations on all of these accounts on an annual basis. It is as simple as contacting the company and identifying your current beneficiaries. In the event that you need to update this material, you can use the forms provided by these companies. Make sure you also provide a copy of this information to keep one for yourself as one to your estate planning attorney. Your estate planning attorney can assist you in putting together a plan that is aligned with your individual needs as well as the beneficiary designations you have listed on these separate accounts.