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  • Mark Young

Why You Should Review Your Beneficiaries

Updated: Aug 29, 2019


I recommend periodically reviewing your beneficiaries on your investment accounts. Generally you can designate a beneficiary (and contingent beneficiaries) for all retirement and life insurance plans.

When establishing a primary beneficiary, we recommend you also designate contingent beneficiaries. For instance, it's common to designate your spouse as the primary beneficiary and your adult children as contingent beneficiaries.

Common reasons why your beneficiaries may be out of date:

  • Marriage - If you have recently married, you are likely to want your spouse as your primary beneficiary.

  • Divorce - You may be divorced and your ex-spouse is still listed as your primary beneficiary.

  • New Child - You may have a newborn child and you want to add them as a contingent beneficiary.

  • Death - Your previously designated beneficiary has passed away. This is most likely a reason to update your beneficiaries.

One other option to consider, especially for contingent beneficiary is to name your trust. This can add some advantages and disadvantages. Here is an article to assist you with this option:

Ed Slott & Company's Trust as Beneficiary article

Reviewing and designating beneficiaries is a simple process, but very important and can have long-lasting impact if not kept up to date.


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