Do Your Retirement Account Documents Reflect Your Wishes?

By Elsie Dudukovich0 Comments

Do you have beneficiaries listed on your retirement accounts? Are they up to date?

Incomplete or out of date beneficiary information on your retirement accounts has the potential to be a source of unnecessary cost and grief for your loved ones. 

Retirement accounts, such as an IRA or a 401(k), may bypass probate and could be a way for your beneficiaries to receive necessary funds while an estate is being processed. 

It can be considered a good practice to review the beneficiary information on your retirement plan after a major life event to make sure that information is reflects your wishes, is correct, and complete.

If the institution holding your account changes names or merges, you may find it helpful to review your beneficiary information to confirm it is still correct and the institution’s changes did not invalidate your request.

In addition to your retirement accounts, remember to regularly review the beneficiary information on financial instruments such as:
  • Annuities
  • Bonds
  • Mutual Funds
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Bank Accounts
Some people find it beneficial to engage a financial advisor and an attorney when navigating estate and other financial or legal matters.  If you choose to work with any financial and or legal professionals, keep them informed of any changes regarding who has authority to access your account or act on your behalf.

In addition to keeping your records up to date, consider organizing and storing your important documents in a secure and readily accessible location.  It is also considered beneficial to inform a trusted loved one of the location of these documents:
  • Bank and brokerage statements and account information.  If you access these items electronically, provide information about how to get those statements online.
  • Locations of any safe-deposit boxes, including where the keys to the safe-deposit boxes are located.
  • Mortgage and credit information
  • Insurance policies
  • Pension and other retirement benefit summaries
  • Social Security payment information
  • Contact information for financial and medical professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, and securities professionals
  • Advance directive and other end of life documents 
  • Hard copies of your other important paperwork
To manage your beneficiaries on your Equity Trust accounts, log into myEQUITY and navigate to Profile > Beneficiaries.
Equity Trust is a passive custodian and does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. Any information communicated by Equity Trust is for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as tax, legal or investment advice. Whenever making an investment decision, please consult with your tax attorney or financial professional.