When is the last time you checked the beneficiaries of your 401(k) account?
Are you 100% certain that this hard-earned asset will go to your chosen family member(s) if something should happen to you?
If not, now is the time to check again. Otherwise, you risk that a family member who has pre-deceased you or even a former spouse could inherit your account. Unfortunately, the courts and the IRS have repeatedly ruled that the Beneficiary form must be followed, even if there is evidence of intent to change beneficiaries or mistakes made when completing the form. Read this article from Forbes for examples of inheritances gone awry.
Other Important Items to Note:
- Even if you have had a Will drafted, only the Beneficiary form determines who receives your retirement account assets.
- These rules also apply to other retirement accounts, includes Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs.
- If you have retirement plans from prior employers, please check these beneficiaries, too.
- Ask your spouse to check the beneficiaries on all of their retirement plans.
- Consider working with an estate planning attorney to ensure that the inheritance of your retirement accounts is consistent with your overall planning wishes.