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Bellevue, WA 98004

What are Beneficiary Designations?

Beneficiary designations are instructions you provide to designate who will receive certain assets or benefits after your death. These designations are commonly used in various financial accounts and insurance policies. By naming beneficiaries, you ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and bypass the probate process, facilitating a smoother transfer of assets to your chosen recipients.

Common financial accounts and policies that allow for beneficiary designations include:

Retirement Accounts: Beneficiary designations can be added to retirement accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts), and Roth IRAs. You can specify primary beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries.

Life Insurance Policies: When you purchase a life insurance policy, you have the option to name beneficiaries who will receive the death benefit when you pass away.

Annuities: Annuities, which are financial products that provide periodic payments, also allow for beneficiary designations.

Bank and Investment Accounts: Many banks and financial institutions offer payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) designations for checking, savings, and investment accounts.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): HSAs often allow for beneficiary designations to ensure that the remaining funds can be transferred to your chosen beneficiaries after your death.

It’s important to regularly review and update beneficiary designations to ensure they align with your current wishes and life circumstances. Life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or the death of a beneficiary may necessitate changes to your beneficiary designations.

Keep in mind that beneficiary designations override any conflicting instructions in your will or other estate planning documents. If your will and beneficiary designations are not consistent, the assets will generally pass to the designated beneficiaries, not according to the will.

Work with an Experienced Washington Estate Planning Attorney
Consult with Gregorek and Associates to ensure that your beneficiary designations are in line with your overall estate plan and goals. Call our Bellevue office at 425-284-3450 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.

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