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How often should I review and/or update my beneficiary designations on my various insurance and IRA accounts?

It is important to review and update your beneficiary designations as you move through different stages of your life or have life changing events. The most common changes and events that I see are marriage, divorce, birth of a child, your children becoming adults, and, ultimately, death.

Keeping your designations up to date may help you to avoid unfortunate financial situations during your lifetime and legal disputes between your heirs following your passing. It is important to note that many insurance policies and IRAs have a default beneficiary if one is not selected. Therefore, if you do not update your policies, you run the risk of the decision having been made on your behalf, which may not reflect your actual wishes.

Contributor: Kerry Peck