Do you know, positively, without a doubt, who your named beneficiaries are on your assets? Well, life changes a lot and fast over the course of your life and so we don’t want this stone to go unturned. Your family will not be happy with you if you “forgot someone” or hadn’t updated in so long that some loved ones were unmentioned or unnamed.
In fact, it’s so important to review this that its part of our 52-Week Take Back Your Finances Challenge and part of our Estate Planning section within this task because you need to check it at least every year to be sure all the “t’s” are crossed and the “i’s” are dotted…as far as who you want to receive certain assets.
Yes, we did do the Will and Testament task a couple of weeks ago, in which you would have named beneficiaries for many of your assets, but you can also name them on your life insurance(s), 401K(s), even bank accounts (called POD = Payable on Death) and stocks (called TOD = Transfer on Death).
Now note that these are generally separate from your assets mentioned in your Last Will and Testament. Often the bank, brokerage firm and provider of your insurance(s)/401k(s) will have forms to name beneficiaries and it is not necessary to include these in your will. In fact, your will takes time to transfer your assets due to probate court, but generally the beneficiaries named on these additional assets are transferred much sooner and close after your death.
This Week’s Task
So, for the official task naming this week, either review and update beneficiaries on your life insurance(s), 401k(s) and other similar assets or actually name a beneficiary if you do not have one listed. Again, this is something wise to do at least once a year. Be sure to check all previous life insurance providers if you have any policies that are still valid and active. You may have a few. Same thing for your 401k accounts, bank accounts, stocks, etc.
Now for a bit of a personal story… After Cassie and I were married, we didn’t understand and know a lot about family finances and the business of running a family. Many things slipped through the cracks, like building a debt-load fast by getting into over $100k of consumer debt in a short time to the miscellaneous tasks like the topic at hand. Well, one day, after we had been married for about 3 years, I was looking over my life insurance forms provided by my employer and noted that I still had my parents listed as beneficiaries if I should die – mindlessly filled in on an additional life insurance policy I had obtained before we met. Well, let’s just say, my wife was not happy. The further I dug, I realized I had my parents as the listed beneficiaries on a few forms…forgetting about my wife. 🙂 But I hadn’t forgotten, I just didn’t realize what I had noted when I had set these up originally years before. So I changed them immediately and have been more intentional about this since, because our family has grown and expanded – as well as our assets.
What you may have done and set-up years ago, or even just last year, may no longer be applicable and due for an updating. So, don’t leave all your loved ones hanging and surprised, but just take a few minutes this week to investigate and makes changes or additions as needed. And husbands, if you forgot to change to your wife on a few forms, change it before you tell her. 🙂
Need to catch up? Come join us on this challenge from the very beginning by clicking on the 52-Week Take Back Your Finances Challenge and sign up to start receiving your automated challenge from the very beginning!
One final thing…we also have a Facebook Group where you can engage in discussions, receive encouragement and talk to others that are participating in the challenges too for more ideas! Head to the Be Intentional with The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page HERE and ask to join us there! You can also invite friends and spouses too!
Disclaimer: We are not licensed financial planners. We are only a couple that have been just a hair-breadth away from bankruptcy and found our way out of debt with a goal to now help others. Please make sure to consider any advice given on our site and in this challenge as tips we have used ourselves; they may not work for everyone. If you have questions please make sure to contact a licensed professional.