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Do beneficiary designations override a will?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | blog, Estate Planning & Wills

There are numerous parts of Virginia estate plans, and one of them is account designations. These exist separately from the will because these accounts do not need to be dealt with in that document. The only way that these are dealt with in the will process is if someone does not make designations at all.

Beneficiary designations are important

What is designated on the account controls how the funds will be divided upon the death of the account holder. This applies to things like retirement accounts and life insurance policies that require beneficiaries. This is why it is crucial to review the designations every so often. Your life may change through things like divorce, or the beneficiaries themselves may pass away. This is why it is so important to ensure that the designations are current.

Review your beneficiary designations periodically

You should be aware of all your accounts that require beneficiaries and check them periodically to ensure that they are current. Consider these designations when you review your estate plan, as you ought to do after any major life event. Beneficiary designations can always be changed throughout the course of your life. However, once you pass away, the designations on these accounts take precedence over everything else. At that point, they cannot be contradicted. Accordingly, you should never overlook these accounts. Instead, make a list of all those that require a beneficiary, and routinely update each one as necessary.

Even if you do not view yourself as wealthy, you should have an estate plan in place. It will make things much easier for your heirs. An estate plan goes far beyond disposition of your assets, and it covers things like power of attorney. To create one, you should consult an attorney who has a background in estate planning and wills.

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