IRA Beneficiary Checklist

You need to name beneficiaries for your IRAs, life insurance policies, annuities, trusts, etc. Here’s how to do it: (1) Think before naming beneficiaries. Check the tax angles with a professional. (2) Name “contingent” (backup) beneficiaries, too. This prevents the assets being included in your taxable estate if your primary beneficiary dies before you. (3) If you name more than one beneficiary, spell out the percentage of the assets each one will receive. There’s no rule that each beneficiary must get an equal share. (4) Determine whether your beneficiaries can manage the asset. If not, you may need to create a trust to hold the asset after your death. (5) Review your beneficiary designations periodically. You may need to change them in case of births, deaths, divorce, remarriage, incapacity, etc.