Whether it is you, your children, your parents, a relative or a close friend, this could be a critical question: “If you die unexpectedly, have you named a Death Beneficiary for your 401(k), IRAs, and other financial accounts?”
I frequently ask new clients that question, and the answer is often “I think so.”
Then I ask, “Do you know who the Beneficiary is?”
"I’m not sure — probably my spouse/companion (or kids, parents, or best friend).”
When we document what the answer really is, clients are often surprised to find that either no one is named or that the wrong person(s) is named.
And then more questions stem out from the first one:
"If it’s your spouse, who will get the money if he or she remarries?"
"If it’s your child, who will get the money if he or she divorces or has other legal problems?"
"If it’s your parents, will they need it as much as another person you care about?"
Not having the right Beneficiary, and not having the right protections for that Beneficiary, can be the most severe problems I see as I start helping new clients to get their financial and legal affairs in order. The adverse consequences are hard to imagine, but they are what they are.
Feel free to call me, or give my name to someone you think may want to call me, to learn whether they have this problem and whether it is a large or small problem. As always, there is no charge for a question like this.