If you are one of the residents in Washington State who has taken the time and care to prepare a will or a trust, you may understandably feel good about getting your affairs in order and responsibly providing clarity about your wishes for your estate after you die. However, if you have stopped at the creation of a wall or a trust, you may want to think twice before celebrating completely as there are other things that may require your attention.
As explained by MarketWatch, a standard estate planning tool like a trust or a will often does not address every one of your assets. Things like your life insurance policy or your retirement account have beneficiaries identified so that when you die, the funds in those accounts go to the beneficiaries. This will happen regardless of what you put in any other estate planning document.
Also important to know if you are divorced is that your divorce decree also will not surpass the beneficiary designations you have on accounts. For example, if your former spouse signed away their rights to your retirement account in your divorce decree, they may still inherit that money if they are still listed as the beneficiary on the account. Updating beneficiaries and including both secondary and primary beneficiaries is a very important part of your estate planning.
If you would like to learn more about the importance of proper estate planning including tending to details like beneficiary designations, please feel free to visit the long-term asset protection page of our Washington State estate planning website.