Review of Life Insurance and Other Assets

Over the course of a lifetime, assets in an IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan can potentially grow to six or seven figures, making up a significant portion of your estate. Did you know that when you die, these assets will go directly to the beneficiary listed on the plan — regardless of instructions in your will? How long has it been since you updated your beneficiary designations? Have you even thought about them since you established the plan? Neglecting to keep retirement plan beneficiaries current could bring about unexpected consequences.

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Why Specific Recipient Designation is Key

Consider the following:

A marriage or divorce can dramatically change the structure of your family overnight. By making sure your beneficiary designations take into account your current family situation and wishes, you can help prevent confusion and discord among your heirs.

The birth of a child or grandchild may prompt you to name a new primary or secondary beneficiary. By designating a child as beneficiary, you make it possible for plan assets to remain tax deferred until the child reaches retirement age.

If your beneficiary has passed away, it’s a good idea to designate a new one. Without a living beneficiary, the money in your plan may become part of your estate when you die, triggering estate and income taxes that could reduce the asset to a fraction of its original value.

Insure Intended Distribution of Your Assets

Chances are you’ve spent a lot of time planning the future distribution of your estate. By keeping retirement plan beneficiaries up to date, you can help ensure that these assets will also be distributed according to your wishes.

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I contacted Immediate to buy one of my immediate annuities. They were prompt, very responsive, paid attention to detail, understood my objectives, and were superb when it came to staying on top of seeing the funds transfer and issue of new policy documents through to completion.
Dr. David Babbel Professor Wharton School
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