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5 things to consider when naming a beneficiary

The idea of naming a beneficiary seems simple–you just fill in the blank on your account. But whether it is for life insurance, a retirement plan or a bank account, it may be difficult to choose exactly who to name. Designating the right person to get the funds of your account is a crucial decision to get right.

However, naming a beneficiary does not need to be intimidating. Do not worry! Here are some things you should think about to help you select the right individual to receive proceeds from your account.

1. Age

Most retirement accounts, pension managers and insurance companies do not give benefits to minors. If you want to designate a younger child or grandchild as your beneficiary, you may want to consider making a trust instead. 

2. Options

You have a wide variety of choices. The beneficiary may be a child, spouse, charity or just about any individual or organization. Think about where you want the wealth in this account to go when you pass away.

3. Money management

Before you jot down the first person who comes to mind, consider whether he or she is wise with money. Do you want the cash in this account to go directly to this person when you die? If not, you can create a trust and instruct the trustee to distribute funds to the beneficiary according to strict guidelines. 

4. Emergencies

Unfortunately, accidents and illnesses may happen. If the beneficiary you choose passes away before you, name a secondary one. This will ensure your assets go to someone while bypassing probate. 

5. Changing circumstances

Maybe the person who makes sense as a beneficiary now will not make sense in a few years. Life brings many changes, so it is important to review and update your beneficiary designations as necessary. 

Get help with your beneficiaries and any other estate planning by talking to a lawyer.

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