OK, you've finally seen a lawyer. You signed your will, durable power of attorney, health care proxy, and maybe a trust. What did you forget — or what did the lawyer forget to talk with you about? How about checking that beneficiaries on your life insurance, retirement accounts, and other assets which pass outside of probate are updated?
When I prepare an estate plan or administer an estate for someone who has died, I ask for information about ALL of the property owned by the living clients or the decedent. That includes life insurance policies, annuities, and retirement plans, like 401ks and IRAs. I have seen a number of these policies name as beneficiaries long-dead parents, ex-spouses, or children that the client stopped speaking to years ago. Not making sure that these changes are addressed when one is putting together an estate plan is only doing half the job.
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