More Than 30 Years Of Serving The St. Louis Metro Area

When estate planning, be careful with beneficiary designations

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2020 | Estate Planning

Putting together an estate plan is not necessarily difficult; it just takes time to get it right. Unfortunately, many Missouri residents do not want to take the time to go through the entire estate planning process. They think as long as they have designated beneficiaries, they are good. Here are a few reasons why beneficiary designations alone may not be sufficient.

Problem number one: taxes. There has to be enough money left in one’s estate to cover any taxes due upon one’s death. That may not happen if all assets go to beneficiaries through direct beneficiary designations. Also, tax issues may come into play if a trust is set up or used incorrectly.

Problem number two: last-minute beneficiary changes. It happens all too often. A person may change his or her beneficiaries just before his or her death. Not only can this cause tax problems, but it can cause former recipients to question why the adjustment was made.

Problem number three: spouse as the only beneficiary. Many people name their spouses as their beneficiaries. This is not abnormal. When this might be a problem is if one has children from a previous relationship. They could get left out, which could lead to fights over one’s estate.

Proper estate planning can help ensure one’s estate is passed on to the right people in the right way. While beneficiary designations certainly have their place, Missouri residents simply have to be careful with how they use them. With the assistance of legal counsel, estate plans can be created that truly fit one’s needs and protects one’s beneficiaries.