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Beneficiary Designations: A Good Idea, Or Bad Estate Planning?

beneficiary designations Nov 18, 2016

Many people consider using beneficiary designations on assets such as IRAs, 401ks, investments, life insurance, annuities, mutual funds and other investments, etc. to be estate planning. However, as an elder law attorney, I consider the use of beneficiary designations, for the most part, just plain foolish.


Before I answer that question, I want to make sure you understand what I mean when I say beneficiary designations.  This can be anything from the beneficiaries you name on forms from your financial company or employer, to accounts that have been designated “transfer on death,” “payable on death” and the like. It can also mean making someone a joint owner on an account, which has its own problems, not within the scope of this article.

Also, it is imperative that you understand one of the most common estate planning misconceptions:  

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