As a will lawyer in Orange County, I have unfortunately seen many circumstances where a person goes through the time and expense of having an estate plan done, only to fail to update their beneficiaries on financial or retirement accounts before they pass away.
An example of this would be Mary naming her brother Bill as the beneficiary of her life insurance policy in her trust, but at the time of her death, she had a different beneficiary named on the actual policy.
Just as life changes, so do your relationships, which can affect who you want to receive your assets, especially if you do not have (or plan to have) children. Changing the beneficiary on assets such as bank accounts or life insurance policies is not uncommon, but you must remember to make sure that your will or trust reflects that change also.
Keeping your estate planning documents and beneficiaries up-to-date is a quick and painless way to prevent legal headaches from occurring after you are gone.
Having two different named beneficiaries on two different documents can result in a lengthy and costly process to fix it – especially if each named person believes that they should be the one to inherit the asset.
The best way to avoid problems like this is to have a lawyer who specializes in Orange County estate planning handle every aspect of your estate. If you are ready to get started, we invite you to call our office at (949) 260-1400 and ask if you qualify for a free Family Wealth Planning Session ($750 value).