Estate planning: you could be goofing up

A recent report from Forbes has discussed the big estate-planning goofs people could be making. Estate planning is important for everyone, not just those of you in Harrisburg or Dauphin. Of course, your estate plan could change over time. Did you know that you could change your mind about designations, for instance? It's important to know these things to help you better distribute your assets.

According to the news from Dec. 16, designations are important to have reviewed every few years. Naming contingent beneficiaries or secondary beneficiaries can be important to making sure the right people get the right things. If your designations are out of date, you might find that your new wife is left out but an ex takes everything, for instance. That's why it is so vital to update your beneficiaries whenever necessary. Did you realize that you will also need to name beneficiaries for your IRA? Doing so effectively allows heirs to defer income tax on the IRA withdrawals; this saves them lots of money in the long run.

You may not want to put a person under 21 as a beneficiary unless you're sure of what you're doing. According to this report, doing so can land your assets with a conservator until the child is of legal age in that state. A better option would be to put money into a trust that can be accessed by the beneficiary.

These are just a few estate planning updates that you might want to consider. If you are interested in protecting your investments, speaking with an attorney could be the right move.

Source: Forbes, "The Big Estate-Planning Goof You May Be Making" Harper Willis, Dec. 16, 2013

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