Short Answer: Not naming a beneficiary or keeping their beneficiaries up to date on their contractual “non-probate” assets is the most significant mistake that folks routinely make regarding their Estate Planning.
Why it’s Important: If you own contractual assets that include a beneficiary designation, it is important to name your beneficiaries and keep them updated; otherwise, you could omit a later-born child, leave assets to someone else’s estate or create a situation where there is no beneficiary because certain life events void beneficiary designations (divorce for example) and then your assets will transfer according to the contract’s default beneficiary provision –most likely the intestate succession laws under your state’s law. Retirement accounts are an example.
When you meet with your Estate Planning Attorney, discuss ALL your assets, not just what you think you should discuss –everything needs to be included in your Estate Planning and your attorney can only give the proper legal advice if they know all the facts. If you have questions regarding this issue or any Estate Planning issue and live in the Daytona Beach area, give me a call to schedule a free consultation.