Designate or update your beneficiar(ies) today

Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than asking your loved one to be my bene this Valentine’s Day. Bene is Latin for good or well. Do something good for them. When you designate or update your financial beneficiary, the one who will receive your assets after you pass on, you are essentially giving the beneficial gift of well being and that is priceless.

So, how much money do you have?


Kind of personal I know.


Have you thought about who will inherit your assets after you’ve gone?


If you want your loved ones to avoid conflict and avoid costly probate, when the courts will decide and distribute your assets to whomever they choose, then you’ll want to protect the ones you love and leave your legacy as you intended.


One way to do this is to make sure you direct the assets in all retirement savings, annuities and life insurance accounts you hold specifically into the hands of the one(s) you love by choosing or updating your beneficiary.


Even if you have a will, not all your assets pass through at the direction of your will. If it‘s owned jointly, has a named beneficiary or has a “payable on death” title, these assets often will trump any will.¹ If you have no beneficiary listed, probate court will decide for you and the outcome may not be what you wanted.

If you are single, you can name anyone as your beneficiary.² If married, you’ll likely want your Valentine (spouse) to be the primary beneficiary and in both cases, you can name more than one person if you wish. This is called a contingency beneficiary of one or more people who could receive your assets if your primary beneficiary dies or you can indicate what percentage each will receive.

If you have a workplace retirement plan, these plans generally require you get written permission from your spouse to name someone other than your spouse.¹ There is more flexibility when there is a spousal beneficiary in place that can help that person decide how and when to collect the assets.

If you are naming a minor child, be sure to have a guardian or trust or risk probate upon your passing. If you are naming someone with a disability or special need, be sure to understand the effect on government benefits. If an elder is involved, understand the tax implications for them as well. ² Your choice of beneficiary has far reaching financial, personal and legal outcomes. Consider working with a financial professional to help navigate your particular circumstance.  

Be sure to keep your assets in the hands of the ones you love, ensuring they are in good hands long after you’ve gone, and update all of your beneficiaries today. Remember, this is not a one and done experience. Whenever you have a life changing event such as divorce, marriage, birth of a child or death of a spouse, you may want to change who will benefit so you can protect your promise to everyone who matters most to you.




2. Voya Consumer Blog article