How designated beneficiaries can upend your estate plans

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2021 | Estate Litigation

All Florida residents should be sure to create an estate plan, and it’s important to update relevant documents as needed after a birth, divorce or other significant life event. If you plan on reviewing your final wishes, knowing more about the designated beneficiaries listed on your accounts can help you plan for your loved ones.

Review your accounts

One aspect that you may not have considered during your estate planning is how your designated beneficiaries may alter your final wishes. Many attorneys who work in the area of will contests and estate litigation can tell you that designated beneficiaries listed on your financial accounts can annul what is written in your will. In ensuring respect for your final wishes, it may help to seek advice from an attorney.

Furthermore, for many people who have divorced, their settlement decrees require that former spouses or minor children remain beneficiaries on accounts. Sometimes, these orders will stipulate a time frame or require that the beneficiaries remain the same permanently.

If you find yourself in such a situation, it is important that you regularly review all of your listed designated beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, bank accounts and retirement accounts. You wouldn’t want to pass away unexpectedly and leave your assets to an ex-spouse you intended to disinherit.

Update your will

After you review your financial accounts and ensure that your designated beneficiaries are properly updated, reviewing your will is a great idea. Going through your estate plans every few years will provide you with the opportunity to make updates as your life circumstances change. Making sure that you take the time to think about how you would like your belongings distributed after you are gone can minimize disputes.

Reviewing your estate plans consistently can be crucial to ensuring that your heirs respect your final plans. Working with a lawyer and conducting estate plan reviews together may help prevent disputes after your passing.