No matter what stage of life you are in, you want to make sure that your loved ones are cared for and that your intentions are clear. Now is a great time to review your beneficiary designations. In your employee deferred compensation plans (such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans), IRAs, life insurance policies, and annuities, the beneficiaries need to be clearly defined as well as what percentages they will receive.
Some things that you may not be aware of are:
1) The beneficiaries that you have listed in your account documents supersede the named heirs in a will or a trust,
2) If you have listed your Estate as a beneficiary, then your assets may become subject to probate, you may limit distribution options, and you may even create adverse tax implications to your heirs, and finally,
3) If you have not made your intentions clear, then it may cause a longer estate settlement process with infighting among the interested parties, which might divide families irreparably.
Your designations should be consistent with your financial and legacy planning goals. If you have had a major life event, such as a marriage, birth, divorce, re-marriage, change in health, or a new job, then now is the time to make sure that you have your affairs in order. It could also be that a significant amount of time has passed since you first set up your accounts, so verify that your current intentions are well outlined in order to keep the decisions in your hands.