Beneficiary designations allow asset distribution without probate

By now, readers of this blog probably know that it is important to have suitable estate planning documents. These documents, such as your will and powers of attorney forms, let your loved ones know your final wishes. Specifically, your will lets your loved ones know how to divide your assets when you are gone. While you are going through your estate planning documents to make sure that they still reflect your wishes, there are some other documents you should also check.

There are some accounts that you might have that have beneficiary designations. These accounts are separate entities from your will, which means they aren't affected by your asset distribution wishes in your will. The beneficiaries you list on these accounts will be able to access the funds without having to worry about probate court.

The accounts you need to check are mostly financial accounts, such as transferable on death accounts, annuities, individual retirement accounts, life insurance policies and 401(k) accounts. Each of these accounts has a beneficiary that you name. It is important that you periodically review these items to ensure that the appropriate person is listed as the beneficiary when you pass away.

A solid and comprehensive estate plan can give you peace of mind in knowing that your estate will be handled according to your wishes when you pass away. Making sure that your other accounts are update with the appropriate beneficiaries can help to ensure that the intended people have full use and rights to those assets. When creating an estate plan in Oklahoma, it is vitally important to understand various laws, such as what accounts are disbursed through beneficiary designation.

Source: Vail Daily, "Vail Daily column: Avoid problems by updating beneficiary designations" Tina DeWitt, Charlie Wick, Kevin Brubeck, Dolly Schaub and Chris Murray, May. 22, 2014

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