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This Will Save Your Family Time and Money… Updating Beneficiaries

When I meet with families after a loved one dies, I often run into a recurring problem… the failure to revise/update beneficiary designations for accounts and/or life insurance policies. Here’ how the story typically goes.

Mom recently died and had an old life insurance policy from years ago. Unfortunately, the policy still names Dad as the sole beneficiary, and Dad died five years before Mom. Mom didn’t initially name a contingent beneficiary, and she forgot to add a new primary beneficiary after Dad died.

At this point, here’s what I have to tell the family:

I’m so sorry, but we’ll need to open probate to transfer the proceeds of your Mom’s life insurance policy. You won’t have access to the policy for at least 2-3 months.”

Here are a few helpful takeaways:

(1) If you don’t have a trust listed as beneficiary, always name contingent beneficiaries for your accounts and policies, just in case your primary beneficiary predeceases you.

(2) If one of your named beneficiaries dies, update your beneficiary designations to ensure you always have someone named on the account or policy.

(3) Periodically review (every 3-5 years) your accounts and policies to ensure proper beneficiaries are listed.

We love giving our clients a peace of mind about the future of their families. If we can help you, please contact us at (813) 244-7758 or for a complimentary consultation.


Ross Spano


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