Do I need to update my beneficiary designations after my spouse passes away?

As part of an overall estate plan update after the loss of your spouse, it is very important to review your beneficiary designations on various types of accounts. Usually, it is retirement and insurance plans that allow for these designations. Since the change in beneficiary is handled outside of your will or trust, it is crucial that you take this extra step to ensure that the designation is current. Failing to do so can lead to negative tax consequences and other undesirable issues.

Accounts That May Need Updated Beneficiary Designations

What types of accounts should you be on the lookout for when it comes time to update your estate plan after your spouse passes away? Following is an overview of some of the more common accounts that allow beneficiary designations:

  1. 401(k) plans
  2. 403(b) plans
  3. IRA’s
  4. Keough plans
  5. Life insurance policies
  6. Annuities

Before making any changes to beneficiary designations, however, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney and tax advisor. You should also work directly with the insurance company, bank, or brokerage in order to ensure that you properly complete the necessary steps to change the designation. There are various options available to you as a surviving spouse that may impact your overall estate plan.

Updating an Orange County estate plan after the loss of a spouse is an important task. Fortunately, we are here to help. View our client testimonials page today to learn how we have assisted many other clients in keeping their estate plans up to date.